Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has relinquished his role as foreign minister. He handed over the portfolio to intelligence minister Israel Katz.
Netanyahu’s decision to appoint Katz as acting foreign minister came after an advocacy group, the Movement for Quality Government, went to court to press the prime minister to stop serving as foreign minister as well.
The PM had been serving as foreign minister since 2015.
It is understood that Katz, who will remain intelligence minister and also transport minister, will hold the foreign affairs portfolio through the upcoming parliamentary election on April 9.
Katz is a member of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party,
Netanyahu, in addition to being prime minister, holds the health and defence portfolio. He took over as defence minister after his former far-right coalition partner Avigdor Lieberman quit that post last November.
The advocacy group that pushed for a new foreign minister had argued that Netanyahu’s workload was untenable and further harmed a foreign ministry beset by budget disputes.
Reuters reports that Netanyahu’s defenders have noted his personal rapport with the U.S. and Russian leaders and regular tours abroad.
“Together with the prime minister we will continue to lead the State of Israel’s foreign policy to new achievements,” Katz, 63, said on Twitter.