Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein is expected to choose a Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee chairman on Monday, after nearly six weeks in which the
Knesset’s most prestigious panel lacked leadership.
“My criteria are
clear. I want someone with parliamentary experience, who’s a member of the
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and who has a broad consensus of faction
leaders behind him,” Edelstein told The Jerusalem Post this
Edelstein is thought to prefer MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua) for the
job, as he is the Knesset’s veteran member, is already on the committee and is
in the coalition.
Other sources mentioned MK Binyamin Ben- Eliezer
(Labor) as an option. The Knesset speaker, however, refused to discuss names
openly, though he spoke to faction leaders about the options this
On Monday, Edelstein is likely to bring a candidate to the Knesset
House Committee for approval, two weeks after he gave Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu an ultimatum: Choose a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman,
or I’ll do it myself.
The committee is still missing a chairman, after
Avigdor Liberman left the role last month to return as foreign minister, as
Netanyahu has yet to appoint one and has been unable to hold general meetings
Because the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee deals with
sensitive and classified materials, the law forbids the Knesset from appointing
a chairman that would serve less than three months.
Netanyahu prefers to
see Knesset House Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud Beytenu) in the
position, but Finance Minister Yair Lapid insists the job should go to Yesh Atid
faction chairman Ofer Shelah.
Lapid and Netanyahu agreed to a rotation
between Hanegbi and Shelah, but they are at an impasse as to who would be first,
since whoever is second may never actually get the job if there is an early
Earlier this week, coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud
Beytenu) said Lapid is “doing something that has never been done, trying to
force a chairman on the prime minister. Even when Kadima led the committee, the
Likud chose which MK it would be.”
“If there’s no choice then Edelstein’s
intervention is the right thing to do,” Levin said.
chairman will be the most permanent in the world.”
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