The 26 MKs in the opposition intensified their internal fighting on Monday over
the vacant chairmanship of the Knesset State Control Committee.
committee, which works in tandem with the state comptroller, must be chaired by
an opposition MK. Kadima MK Ronnie Bar-On was forced to relinquish the committee
chairmanship when his party joined Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s
National Union MK Uri Ariel immediately claimed control over
the committee, because when Kadima joined the coalition, he was the only
remaining opposition MK on the committee.
The committee must be led by an
MK who was on the committee.
But new opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich
wants the committee to be led by an MK from her faction, specifically her chief
rival, MK Amir Peretz. The Arab parties also want the committee led by Peretz
and not by the rightist Ariel.
Opposition MKs said giving Ariel the
chairmanship and replacing outspoken State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss with
the relatively quiet new comptroller Joseph Shapira would effectively neutralize
a key institution for government oversight.
“Uri Ariel would be a puppet
of the government,” Peretz said. “Netanyahu is doing everything possible to
block opposition. The government should not be immune to
Ariel’s spokesman countered that giving the chairmanship to
an MK who has not been on the committee would be wrong. He said he expected
Ariel to be voted into the job in the next week by the MKs on the committee with
help from coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin, who strongly supports giving Ariel
chairmanship of the committee.