Defense Minister Ehud Barak 311.
(photo credit: Linoy Elihai / Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Independence faction announced Monday it would not
vote with the coalition on a judicial selection reform bill, a move coalition
chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) vowed would bring sanctions against the
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Barak’s Independence faction now a party
The Independence faction was not present in the plenum during the
vote which took place late Monday night.
In addition, not voting for the
bill, which would require the Bar Association to appoint one coalition and one
opposition representative to the Judicial Selection Committee, could lead the
party to leave or be ejected from the coalition.
“This bill will harm the
High Court and undermine judicial superiority,” Barak said. “It’s important for
the Independence Party to defend the court’s independence.”
the defense minister, “any decision weakening the High Court is bad for Israeli
The party said in a statement that coalition discipline on
the vote defies agreements between Independence and the coalition.
Independence faction decided not to support a bill that will change the makeup
of the Judicial Selection Committee, especially when there’s an attempt to pass
the bill so it will influence the committee’s meeting in 10 days,” faction
chairwoman Einat Wilf said.
However, coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin
(Likud) said the coalition agreement with Independence gives the faction the
right to veto Basic Laws or elections laws, neither of which is on Monday’s
Otherwise, Elkin said, the party is required to vote with the
coalition when there is discipline.
“I’m willing to listen to Barak’s
criticism. After all, we disagree on many topics, but that doesn’t release his
party from the coalition agreement.
“They may as well leave the coalition
today, because that’s what it’ll mean if Independence votes against this bill,”
Elkin said. “If they want to remain ministers, they need to understand that the
Knesset will no longer view them as part of the coalition, and will vote against
their ministries’ bills, and we’ll pass bills they oppose.”
known to be a strict enforcer of coalition and faction discipline, to the extent
that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a recent Likud faction meeting
that he “doesn’t know how to lose.”
No bills with coalition discipline
have failed during this Knesset, and no opposition bills have passed without
“If Independence tries to break the coalition
agreement, we don’t owe them anything anymore, and we won’t help them,” he
If Independence leaves, the coalition will still have 61 members,
but will find itself in a precarious situation, making it difficult to pass