Netanyahu taps Likud ally as Israel’s justice minister

June 5, 2019
FILE - In this Thursday, May 30, 2019 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the press in Jerusalem. After narrowly failing to oust PM Benjamin Netanyahu in April elections, the long-time Israeli leader's opponents now have a rare chance for a ‘do-over’ in a snap vote in September. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed a close Likud party ally as justice minister.

Amir Ohana’s appointment on Wednesday came as Netanyahu heads an interim government following the dissolution of parliament last week. The prime minister also faces a hearing before the attorney general over corruption allegations and possible indictment.

Ohana is an ardent Netanyahu backer and has voiced support for a bill to grant a seated prime minister immunity from prosecution.

It remains unclear how, if at all, Ohana’s appointment could impact the cases against the prime minister.

Netanyahu has also reportedly asked the attorney general for a second deferral of his hearing because of the snap elections called for September.

With his appointment, Ohana also becomes Israel’s first openly gay Cabinet member.

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