The Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved a bill to allow the Security Cabinet to declare war without seeking government approval.
The bill, aimed at preventing leaks, would allow the government, with the permission of the prime minister, to give the security cabinet authority to launch a military campaign that is likely to a high degree of possibility to lead to war. It also formalizes the cabinet’s ability to exercise its authority to declare war, which had been the de facto situation but not de jure.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who proposed the bill said it formalized the existing situation.
“In the era of social media and the ensuing danger of leaks, we must adapt our security doctrine and make the work of the government and the cabinet as efficient as possible,” Shaked said.
The bill will now need to pass three readings in the Knesset, but is expected to pass as Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid has thrown his support behind it calling it “correct and professional.”
Hebrew media reports have speculated that the bill has its origins in a 2010-move by Prime Minister Netanyahu and then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who had reportedly drawn up plans to attack Iran but were said to have been blocked by Mossad Director Meir Dagan and then IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who refused to carry out the plans because the request would have been tantamount to declaring war and illegal without government approval.
Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon said authorization of the bill “had given the prime minister dictatorial powers.”
“A bill that would allow a small group of ministers to declare war without the authorization of the government contradicts the basic principles of democracy,” she said.