‘Sa’ar bill’ blocking Netanyahu rival put on hold

The bill would prevent the president from choosing someone who is not a party leader to form a government.

November 11, 2018 10:56
1 minute read.
Gideon Saar

Gideon Saar. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The “Gideon Sa’ar bill,” meant to block a rival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Likud, was taken off Sunday’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation agenda due to disagreements within the coalition.

The bill would prevent the president from choosing someone who is not a party leader to form a government. Currently, the president has the discretion to appoint any member of Knesset as prime minister after an election, though the choice has thus far always been a party leader.

The proposal came after Netanyahu said last month that a former Likud minister – a reference to Sa’ar – was speaking to officials about the possibility of forming the next government. Both Sa’ar and President Reuven Rivlin strongly denied that they had hatched such a plan. Sa’ar said that the rumor “puts poisons in the veins” of the Likud.

Though the bill had been set to go to a vote on Sunday, the ministerial committee removed it from the agenda, after coalition party leaders asked for a meeting to discuss it.

Shas released a statement that it “opposes a change to a Basic Law over a caprice and paranoia.”

A source in the party said their and United Torah Judaism’s opposition to the bill is a negotiation tactic, to convince Netanyahu to support Moshe Lion in the runoff vote for Jerusalem mayor this week.

As he boarded a flight to Paris on Saturday night, Netanyahu said, “I will come back and discuss these subjects... The bill is not personal, it is a basic bill.”

Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said that he agreed to support the bill, but a new draft was sent to the minister on Friday with many new details.

“Over the years, certainly in recent years, presidents appoint the prime minister with the greatest chance to form a government,” Bennett told KAN Bet. “I don’t think this bill has national importance. It doesn’t help or harm.”

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