IT TAKES ABOUT a dozen ministries to run Sweden, a country of 10m people. Austria, with a population of 9m, has a similar number. Israel is about th
IT TAKES ABOUT a dozen ministries to run Sweden, a country of 10m people. Austria, with a population of 9m, has a similar number. Israel is about the same size, but apparently it needs a bigger government. The one sworn in on May 17th features at least 34 ministries, and as many ministers (over a quarter of all lawmakers), many of whom seem to share the same tasks or have little power.
There is, for example, a minister of education and a minister of higher education. There is a minister of cyber and national digital matters, though the police handle cybercrime, the army does cyber-warfare and a separate ministry deals with science and technology. The ministry of community empowerment and advancement has just been created, in case having a ministry in charge of social services and a ministry for social equality was not enough.
Half a century ago Israel had many fewer ministries (see chart). But the country’s proportional-representation system makes it difficult to form a stable governing coalition—just ask Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister. Three elections in the span of a year produced nothing but gridlock until Mr Netanyahu convinced his former opponent, Benny Gantz, to join him in government. Now the prime minister must keep politicians from eight parties happy. So, like past leaders, he has broken up existing departments and created new ones in order to reward allies and…