Eli Cohen will be replaced by Israel Katz at the Ministry of Energy. This ministerial crossover between these two members of Likud (the party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), which has yet to be approved by the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, was provided for in the agreement to form Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition government in December 2022.
Eli Cohen was appointed Foreign Minister last year in this coalition government, considered the most right-wing in Israeli history, according to analysts.
This change at the head of Israeli diplomacy comes in the midst of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, triggered by a bloody attack of unprecedented scale on Israeli soil on October 7.
Questioned Sunday morning on Israeli radio, Eli Cohen declared that “the government has a responsibility” for having failed to anticipate the Hamas attack which left around 1,140 dead in Israel, stressing that according to him, a “commission of inquiry independent” should be established “at the end of the war”.
Some 250 people were taken hostage during the attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement, of whom 129 are still being held in Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.
“The return of the hostages can only be achieved by two combined means: first, military pressure and, second, political pressure,” insisted Eli Cohen.
Former Intelligence Minister, Eli Cohen played an important role in the normalization of relations between Israel and Arab countries. In mid-2020, Israel announced the normalization of its relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain then Morocco, as part of the “Abraham Accords”.
Tenor of Likud, of which he has been a deputy since 1998, Israel Katz was successively Minister of Agriculture, Transport, Foreign Affairs and Finance in the previous Netanyahu governments since 2003.
This article is originally published on lopinion.ma