Anyone convicted of offences but not given a custodial sentence can serve as a minister, and two ministers can now serve in the same office, according to legislations passed in Knesset.
Israel's parliament has passed a controversial legislation paving the way for the return of veteran hawk Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister.
Following his November 1 election win, Netanyahu secured a mandate to form a government backed by ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties and an extreme-right bloc.
Netanyahu will present what analysts have said will be the most right-wing government in Israel's history to parliament on Thursday.
On Tuesday, lawmakers passed legislation that now allows anyone convicted of offences but not given a custodial sentence to serve as a minister.
Before the law was passed, there had been uncertainty over whether Aryeh Deri, a key ally from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, would be able to serve as he had previously pleaded guilty to tax offences.
A second law passed allows for two ministers to serve in the same office, a measure targeting the defence portfolio.
Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the extreme-right formation Religious Zionism, is to be the minister with control over civil affairs in the occupied West Bank — a responsibility usually falling to the defence minister, who has yet to be announced.
The Knesset also voted to expand the powers of the national security minister, a portfolio set to be handed to Itamar Ben Gvir, another extreme-right figure.
The morning session also saw Netanyahu ally Yariv Levin resign as interim speaker of the Knesset, ahead of his expected appointment to a ministry.
Rules require that he had not been in the speaker's post for 48 hours before any ministerial appointment.
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Israel's parliament has approved amendments to a law that would allow ultra-Orthodox MP Arye Dery to be appointed as interior and health minister despite his criminal conviction and clear the way for far-right leader Bezalel Smotrich to appoint a minister within the war ministry. pic.twitter.com/utOSgW1EiG— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) December 27, 2022
Fears of military escalation
Netanyahu, who is fighting corruption allegations in court, has already served as premier longer than anyone in Israel, including a 1996 to 1999 stint and a record 12-year tenure from 2009 to 2021.
His incoming government has sparked fears of a military escalation in the occupied West Bank amid the worst violence in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory for nearly 20 years.
Late on Tuesday, outgoing Defence Minister Benny Gantz expressed "fear" over the "extremist direction" of the incoming government, which he said could harm Israel's security.
"I think that if the government acts in an irresponsible way, it could cause a security escalation," he said in an interview with Channel 12 television.
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Decades of Israeli occupation
Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza during the 1967 Middle East War. It annexed the entire East Jerusalem city in 1980, claiming it as Israel's "eternal" capital — a move never recognised by the international community.
It pulled back from Gaza in 2005 and has since then maintained a harsh blockade from land, sea and air on the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Palestine sees those territories as part of its country, with East Jerusalem its heartland and ultimate capital.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territory" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land to be illegal.
Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to "Judaize" the historic city by effacing its Arab and Islamic identity and driving out its Palestinian inhabitants.
Almost 500,000 illegal Israeli settlers live in over 130 settlements dotting the occupied West Bank alongside nearly three million Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation.
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