yisrael katz 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Likud’s coalition partners mocked Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz for
promising on Monday to change the electoral system ahead of the next
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed Katz last February
to head a committee of ministers and MKs that would try to reach a consensus on
changes in the system.
Katz failed to reach agreement with the other
parties on any specific change, and his committee has not met since
Nevertheless, Katz called a press conference in Tel Aviv Monday
afternoon with representatives of the Citizens Empowerment Center in Israel, a
pressure group that lobbies for changing the system.
Zvi Hauser canceled his participation in the sparsely attended “press
conference” that was set for a time when all political correspondents were at
the Knesset in Jerusalem.
Katz said at the event he would push for
raising the electoral threshold, limiting the number of ministers and deputy
ministers, requiring a special majority for non-confidence motions, and electing
part of the Knesset in direct, regional elections.
“There is no dispute
about the need to change the electoral system,” Katz said. “It’s in the stage of
The goal of changing the system is not to help one party
or another but to guarantee stability to all future governments. We must change
the system to enable Israel to deal with the challenges ahead, make critical
decisions, and implement them.”
MKs from the Likud’s coalition partners
responded there is indeed a dispute about the need to make any
The coalition agreement requires all changes to the political
system to be made by consensus.
Shas and United Torah Judaism oppose
raising the threshold and regional elections.
Israel Beiteinu wants a
Independence faction chairwoman Einat Wilf, who
speaks around the world about how Israel’s current system is the best, opposes
making any changes at all.
Knesset Law Committee chairman David Rotem
(Israel Beiteinu), whose committee must approve any changes in the political
system, said no decisions had been made on electoral reform and there was no
consensus on the issue in the current coalition.
“[Katz] is just looking
for headlines,” Rotem said. “If he brings it to my committee or his own it won’t
Officials on Katz’s committee speculated the press conference was
called because electoral reform is one of the top issues promoted by two of
Netanyahu’s opponents, journalist-turned-politician Yair Lapid and former Mossad
chief Meir Dagan.
Lapid wrote on his Facebook wall on Monday that no
current party would make any changes in the political system but his
“They had a thousand chances to change the system but they never
did anything, because they are worried about their future coalition partners,”
“There has to be a party that says changing the
electoral system is a holy principle we won’t give up on in any condition, and
that’s what we’ll do.”
Shas and UTJ MKs and Wilf said Monday they would
block any effort by Katz to change the system.
“Despite the fact that
Lapid says he will promote electoral reform, we have no reason to rush to that,”
Wilf said. “Electoral reform is plain wrong, and Lapid saying it doesn’t make it