Knesset building 390.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Shakib Shanan became a member of Knesset in the Independence faction on
Wednesday, as Labor faction chairman Isaac Herzog filed a complaint saying
funding allocated for the new lawmaker should go to the Labor
Shanan, who was an MK in the 17th Knesset, was the next on Labor’s
candidates list. However, because Defense Minister Ehud Barak and four other MKs
broke off from Labor to form the Independence Party, the law states that Shanan
could choose which faction to join if an Independence or Labor MK left the
Last week, Homeland Security Minister Matan Vilna’i announced
that he was resigning from the Knesset
to become ambassador to China, and Shanan
said he would join Independence.
The Knesset House Committee approved
Shanan’s choice on Wednesday morning, with nine in favor and Herzog and MK
Shlomo Molla (Kadima) opposed.
“My decision was based on values and
morals,” Shanan told the committee. “I do not have the authority to cancel a
seat in the Knesset that belongs to Independence.”
Shanan’s motives, asking if any agreements were made between Independence and
In addition, Herzog said that the funding for Shanan should go to
Labor, as he was elected from Labor’s Knesset list. The Labor faction chairman
made the same demand in a letter he sent to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on
According to Herzog, the Knesset’s rules say that Shanan
has a choice of which faction to join, but it does not say what should be done
with his funding. In addition, campaign funding laws forbid a solitary MK
leaving a faction from taking his funding with him.
“With all due
respect, we cannot accept that the rights to funding will be taken away
according to the whims of an incoming MK who made his decision for purely
political reasons,” Herzog wrote.
House Committee chairman Yariv Levin
(Likud) told Herzog that campaign funding was not the topic of the meeting, and
would not allow it to be discussed.
Molla said that Shanan’s choice was
“chair-ology, meant to fatten the upholstery on the prime minister’s chair,” and
that ideology was not taken into consideration.
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