Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi will be the next chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, a source close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu confirmed Wednesday night.
The prestigious panel has not had a permanent chairman since Avigdor Liberman left the post to become foreign minister in November.
In the interim, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein named himself temporary chairman, and has appointed different legislators to lead each committee meeting.
Meanwhile, Hanegbi has led the subcommittee on the defense budget and is Knesset House Committee chairman.
The delay in appointing a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman was due to a political spat between Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who wanted Yesh Atid faction chairman Ofer Shelah to fill the slot because his party had proportionately fewer ministers than Likud Beytenu. However, Netanyahu wanted someone from his own Likud party – namely, Hanegbi.
Lapid and Netanyahu agreed on a rotation for their candidates, but until Wednesday, could not decide who would go first.
Last month, Labor MKs Isaac Herzog, Eitan Cabel and Nachman Shai, along with the Movement for Quality Government, petitioned the High Court to force Netanyahu and Edelstein to choose a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman. The court threw away the case this week, after the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu would appoint one by the end of March.
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