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Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Knesset defense panel hasn't met in two months
By LAHAV HARKOV
06/01/2014
Vote to make Edelstein Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman called off at last minute.
 
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee remained unconvened and without a chairman Monday, two months after Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman left the post.

The Knesset’s most prestigious panel was supposed to hold its first meeting since November on Tuesday, following a Monday evening vote to make Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein its chairman.

However, on Monday afternoon, exactly two months after Liberman left the post following his acquittal on corruption charges, the vote was called off because coalition members could not reach an agreement on the matter.

Meanwhile, the committee’s plenum was unable to hold meetings for the last two months, and only its subcommittees were convened.

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is meant to deal with sensitive and classified information, and review the Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry’s activities.

Tuesday’s planned meeting was called to review topics that were neglected since November, such as voting whether to renew Military Ombudsman Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick’s term for another five years.

In recent weeks, Brick was unable to perform essential parts of his job because he was yet to be officially reappointed.

Over the last two months, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid were unable to agree on a replacement for Liberman, with the former preferring Knesset House Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi and the latter wanting Yesh Atid faction chairman Ofer Shelah to fill the post.

The two decided on a rotation, but neither was willing to have his candidate be second.

Last month, Edelstein decided to take matters into his own hands and nominated himself as head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

However, he intends to only hold the position symbolically and appoint a different panel member to substitute for him in each meeting.
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