Article 40 of Israel’s “Basic Law: The Government” determines that only with a vote by a majority of MKs can the prime minister declare war. Now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to promote an amendment that will allow him to declare war without first acquiring government approval.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu | Archive

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu | Archive Photo Credit: Amir Levi, Flash 90/ Channel 2 News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to promote an amendment to the 2001 “Basic Law: The Government.” The amendment would allow Netanyahu to declare war- or initiate a military operation that could lead potentially to war- without first acquiring approval from the government. In certain cases, he would be able to do so even without the presence of a full cabinet. The bill will be brought before the Knesset for approval when it reconvenes after the summer recess.

Two months ago, the cabinet approved an amendment to the legislation that would allow the government to authorize the cabinet at the beginning of the term to launch a major military operation or war in order to prevent leaks. The amendment was likely inserted at Netanyahu’s request.

Could he declare war without the government's approval?

Could he declare war without the government’s approval? Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

It would appear that the impetus for Netanyahu’s proposal was a dramatic event that took place seven years ago in which former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said that they could not launch a military operation that Netanyahu instructed them to because it could have potentially led to war and was therefore illegal.

Officials at the Israeli Ministry of Justice have made it clear that such legislation would prevent the need for a real-time legal debate, which could lead to the leakage of information and prevent the necessary action from being taken.