Ex-ministers in Likud opt to retain private driver instead of parliamentary assistant

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At least five former Likud ministers chose to retain a driver instead of a parliamentary assistant when they returned last week to becoming regular parliamentarians. While ministers are permitted to employ large numbers of advisers and bureau employees as well as a driver, MKs are only permitted three personal aides to help them with their work. Most lawmakers choose to appoint a bureau chief, a spokesman and a legislative adviser.

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But former ministers Yisrael Katz, Ofir Akunis, Tzachi Hanegbi, Miri Regev and Yuli Edelstein are employing the drivers who served them during their most recent term as ministers as one of the three aides. While an MK can assign the three permitted aides any task he or she chooses, all of them are permitted to drive the MK’s car, even if they aren’t specifically designated a driver.

Hanegbi’s office issued a statement saying, “Driver Gideon Avraham has been working with Tzachi Hanegbi since his term as health and justice minister in 1996. In the 25 years since, Avraham has served as Minister Hanegbi’s driver during his 16 years in the executive branch and all the other years as part of the MK’s staff.” Akunis’ office said, “The division among the positions of confidence is solely at the MK’s discretion.” Katz, Regev and Edelstein did not respond.