According to an announcement Wednesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud Knesset member Amir Ohana will serve as Israel’s justice minister until a new government is formed after the country’s Sept. 17 elections.
Elected to the Knesset in 2015, Ohana became the first openly gay Knesset member serving in a right-wing party, and will now become Israel’s first openly gay minister.
Ohana’s appointment comes after the June 2 firing by Netanyahu of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Education Minister Naftali Bennett. The shakeup was as highly political, widely perceived as part of an effort to prevent the pair — popular government members and leaders of the New Right party in the April 9 election — from using their positions as ministers to attract votes.
Ohana has been public in his support for Netanyahu with regard to the multiple ongoing legal investigations the prime minister faces, and was one of few senior Likud members to back Netanyahu’s effort to pass a law giving sitting prime ministers immunity from prosecution.
Netanyahu initially said he would retain the justice minister portfolio for himself, as he did with the defense and health portfolios, but decided to find a new justice minister after critics accused him of a conflict of interest due to pending indictments against him.