New Israeli Cabinet meets

Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's new right-wing Prime Minister, used his first Cabinet meeting yesterday to clip the wings of his defence and finance ministers and concentrate strategic policy-making in his own hands on the American presidential model. He announced the establishment of a National Security Council and an Economic Advisory Council, both reporting directly to the Prime Minister. Yesterday's initiatives were designed to restore Mr Netanyahu's credibility after the soap opera of his inauguration on Tuesday night. He struggled for five hours to persuade his old Likud rival, David Levy, to take the Foreign Ministry portfolio, and to find a job for the ex-Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon.

In the end Mr Levy was sworn in and Mr Sharon was offered a hastily cobbled new Ministry of National Infrastructure. By last night, he had still not accepted it. Eric Silver - Jerusalem

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