Opposition chief Herzog gives premier ultimatum over key post

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
February 17, 2014 22:24

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has yet to replace Avigdor Liberman since he returned to Foreign Ministry.

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Labor leader Isaac Herzog.

Labor leader Isaac Herzog.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid must agree on a new chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee by Sunday or they will be taken to the Supreme Court, opposition leader Isaac Herzog warned Monday.

The committee has been without a chairman since Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman was promoted to foreign minister in November.

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Netanyahu and Lapid have been fighting over Liberman’s successor in the key post.

“A country is not a game or a kindergarten,” Herzog told the Labor faction. “If the prime minister and finance minister cannot make decisions, we will have to act as the responsible adults. We will go to the Supreme Court to force the end of this absurd theatrical production.”

Sunday is the legal deadline to end the situation in which Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein served as formal chairman of the committee but different MKs led each session. But the Knesset House Committee decided Monday to extend the deadline until the end of the Knesset’s spring recess in May.

“We had no choice because we could not reach an agreement,” coalition chairman Yariv Levin told the committee.

Labor faction chairman Eitan Cabel called the delay shameful and warned that the committee’s lack of functioning was proving the Knesset irrelevant.

Netanyahu and Lapid have agreed on a rotation between Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi and Yesh Atid faction chairman Ofer Shelah at the helm of the committee, but they disagree on who will go first.


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