The appointment of Hadash-Ta'al MK Ahmad Tibi as one of the Knesset's deputy speakers is shaping up to be the first feud within the new coalition, as Likud MK Tali Gottlieb circulated a letter on Sunday demanding that Tibi not be given the position.
Tibi reportedly reached an agreement with the Likud soon after the November 1 election that he would give up one of Hadash-Ta’al’s seats in the Knesset Finance Committee in exchange for receiving one of the deputy speaker roles. The current deputies are temporary, but permanent ones will likely be chosen this week.
In the letter, Gottlieb accused Tibi of “undermining our existence and the existence of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” She accepted the High Court’s ruling that Tibi could serve as a member of Knesset, but wrote that he should not be given any other “awards.” She accused Tibi of exhibiting “disrespectful” and even “degrading” behavior over the past year and a half, but did not give examples.
“Governance is actualized by the majority’s power to make decisions in the Knesset. Tibi’s past as a personal adviser to the greatest of our murderers [Yasser Arafat]… is the basis of my uncompromising opposition to the very fact that he is a member of the Israeli parliament,” Gottlieb wrote.
Otzma Yehudit MK Zvika Fogel also said on Radio 103FM on Sunday that he would not vote for Tibi as deputy Knesset speaker.
Hadash-Ta’al said in response, “[The role of] deputy speaker is a function of how many seats each party receives, and is not a favor that the governing party or coalition hands out. The coalition and opposition each receive a number of deputies. MK Tibi has served in this position based on the party’s size continuously since 2006.”
Tibi denied the report that he had given up a spot on the Finance Committee in order to receive the position.