What Happened: After announcing his intention to assume the duties of justice minister in Israel's interim government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reversed course upon consulting with ministry officials, who raised conflict-of-interest concerns, The Times of Israel reported June 3. Netanyahu — who faces a pending indictment on corruption charges — fired the justice and education ministers in a June 2 Cabinet reshuffle, and is expected instead to appoint a member of his Likud party to lead the Justice Ministry.
Why It Matters: The justice minister post will be key for Netanyahu, as he tries to minimize the political damage his unfolding legal drama might have on his campaign ahead of the September elections. Meanwhile, the ministry vacancies have created a political frenzy among Likud's coalition partners, with the secularist and religious parties aligned with Netanyahu diverging sharply on the cultural and legal outcomes they want to see from the posts. Such infighting could weaken Netanyahu’s coalition going into the election.
Background: Netanyahu sacked the ministers after their party failed to win enough support to survive the April 11 elections. The prime minister's failure to create a governing coalition after that contest led to the dissolution of the Knesset and a snap election set for Sept. 17.