Einat Wilf 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee ignores diplomatic issues, Independence faction
Chairwoman Einat Wilf charged on Wednesday, saying that the committee should be
split. Speaking in the Knesset House Committee, which deals with
procedure and regulations, Wilf argued that most countries have separate
committees for foreign affairs and defense matters.
Committee chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) initially expressed skepticism at the
proposal, he said he would consider it after Wilf and other experts spoke at the
Levin has been working on an overhaul of Knesset regulations for
nearly two years, which would be implemented after the next elections. The new
regulations would apply to Knesset committees and their
“Now, when the State of Israel is dealing with challenges
on the international stage, there is a need to put foreign affairs questions on
equal standing with classic security questions,” Wilf said.
out that the vast majority of Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meetings are
about security matters, most of the visitors to the committee are IDF officers
and only one of its 13 subcommittees is dedicated to diplomacy.
Wilf stated that having a separate committee for Foreign Affairs would allow for
proper supervision of the Foreign Ministry.
Wilf said that her initiative
has Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s support, but that Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were concerned that
testifying in two committees would be time consuming.
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She suggested that
this be solved by occasionally holding joint meetings, as many other committees
in the Knesset do.
MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) expressed support for
Wilf’s proposal, but said it is essential that it only be implemented in the
next Knesset. This would avoid politicizing the decision, which would require
the selection of a new committee chairman and representatives from different
Plesner explained that the Foreign Affairs and Defense
Committee is currently responsible for enhancing relations with other
parliaments, a job that is difficult with its current resources. A
separate Foreign Affairs Committee could improve the situation, he
At the same time, Plesner expressed concern that there may not be
enough MKs to serve on the committee, pointing out that there are often meetings
in which the chairman is the only one present.
Ra’anan Gissin, a former
senior adviser to Ariel Sharon and a well-known spokesman for Israel, said that
in strategic planning, “you can’t just give good answers; you have to ask the
He stated that MKs who serve on the committee are
expected to develop expertise on many issues, but none succeed in learning
everything they are supposed to, due to time constraints.
Gissin, who was
invited to the meeting by Wilf, said he supports her proposal because it would
enable MKs to gain a deeper understanding of foreign affairs and diplomatic
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