PM authorized to declare war in ‘extreme situations’ without cabinet vote

Sixty-two MKs passed a law on Monday night that gives the prime minister and defense minister the authority to declare war “in extreme situations.” In the other cases, the security cabinet will have the authority to declare war.
IDF officers Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

On Monday night, the Knesset passed a law that gives the prime minister and the defense minister the authority to decide to declare war or launch a significant military operation “in extreme situations.” While 41 MKs opposed the law, 62 MKs voted in favor of passing it.

The law also gives the security cabinet the authority to declare war or launch a major military operation without the government’s approval, regardless of the circumstances. The article allowing the prime minister and defense minister to declare war in “extreme situations” was not approved by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, headed by the Likud’s Avi Dichter, but the Knesset passed the proposal that includes this controversial part. The law does not state what circumstances constitute “extreme situations.”

Dichter stressed that the passing of the law is unrelated to the escalating tensions along Israel’s borders. “When you look at the reality in the past few years and don’t think [about whether the next war will be] in the north or in the south, [you can see] we’re building our deterrence capability in an informed way,” he explained. “The bill was created to provide a closed and decisive response as to how a normal state wants to work in accordance with the law. Without flexibility, there’s no real ability to function.”

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