Netanyahu at cyber conference.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may have to leave his office and go across the street to the Supreme Court twice next week to deal with political issues.
Netanyahu appealed to the court on Thursday asking it to overturn a Tel Aviv District Court decision to enable the Likud’s institutions to take key powers away from him and give them to the head of the central committee, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.
If the Supreme Court does not overturn the decision, Danon will be able to convene the central committee next month for votes on key issues Netanyahu opposes, including opposing territorial concessions and preventing a merger with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party.
“No one wants to prevent votes in the party, but they must be conducted according to the Likud constitution,” Netanyahu’s lawyer Avi Halevy said. “There is tension in Likud on ideological differences.
Clearly, in such cases there are those who will want to initiate votes in the Likud’s institutions on diplomatic issues that will paint the party’s agenda a certain way.”
Halevy said that if Netanyahu loses in court, he will go the central committee and ask to keep the powers he needs to run the country.
“If he has to fight, he will fight,” Halevy said.
Danon accused Netanyahu of trying to avoid an ideological debate in Likud during the diplomatic process with the Palestinians led by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Danon warned this week that Kerry was trying to turn Netanyahu into Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On.
“I will continue to safeguard the democracy in Likud, even in the Supreme Court,” Danon said. “I will not let the party be paralyzed.”
Netanyahu could also end up in the Supreme Court Sunday when opposition leader Isaac Herzog intends to go to the court to protest the vacancy at the helm of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Herzog gave Netanyahu an ultimatum that if a chairman is not appointed by Sunday, he would ask the court to force Netanyahu to appoint one. Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon ruled Wednesday that a chairman must be appointed.
The committee has been without a chairman since Liberman was promoted to foreign minister in November.
Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid have been fighting over Liberman’s successor in the key post.
Asked if he was concerned about Netanyahu going to court twice, Halevy said: “It is no problem. He will win twice.”