Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Knesset in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Knesset will have a Prime Minister’s Questions hour once per session, the Knesset House Committee decided Monday.
The new format is similar to the weekly questioning the UK prime minister undergoes in the House of Commons, however, the Israeli prime minister will only have to answer such questions once per year.
In other weeks, another minister will answer questions, and unlike in the existing parliamentary questions system, he or she will not know what the questions will be in advance.
The questions hour came as part of a compromise between coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) and Zionist Union faction chairwoman Merav Michaeli.
The sides also agreed to reduce the number of no-confidence motions from every week to 10 times per session.
“In civilized Western democracies, prime ministers stand before members of parliament once a year,” Michaeli said, “but our prime minister favors selective democracy and he selects the parts that are comfortable for him. Questions and interviews from the press are an annoyance and transparency is unnecessary.”
Michaeli pointed out that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds four portfolios – prime minister, foreign, economy and regional development – saying that, despite that, he has yet to report to the plenum on the ministries’ activities.
“From now on, he will stand before the Knesset and answer every question, as is appropriate in a democracy,” she stated.