New MK to be sworn in despite legal challenge

Shakib Shanan's holding of high-ranking position in Social Welfare Ministry won't prevent him from replacing Vilna'i.

Knesset building 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Knesset building 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Druse activist Shakib Shanan will be sworn in to the Knesset on Wednesday after Knesset legal authorities ruled Tuesday he was not subject to legal regulations that would have prevented him from becoming an MK.
Shanan will take the place of Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i, who resigned from the Knesset Sunday night.
He was the next name on Labor’s list but he was legally permitted to choose between entering Labor or the Independence faction, and he chose the latter.
The legal question centered on the high-ranking post Shanan had in the northern branch of the Social Welfare Ministry. Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon was asked whether that post legally required Shanan to renounce his Knesset candidacy when he received it.
After consulting with the ministry’s human resources department, Yinon ruled Shanan’s post was not high enough to cause him a problem.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin informed a relieved Shanan of the decision Tuesday morning.
Had Shanan been barred from entering the Knesset, Vilna’i would instead have been replaced by the candidate after him on Labor’s list, former MK Yoram Marciano, a social affairs activist loyal to Labor MK Amir Peretz.
Netanyahu did not approve pursuing Vilna’i’s appointment as ambassador to China until he was certain Shanan would join Independence and not Labor and the coalition would not lose an MK to the opposition.
An Independence Party spokesman welcomed Yinon’s said Shanan would give a significant boost to the five-man Independence faction, which had only one MK who was not a minister.
Shanan was a Labor MK from May 2008 until the last general election in February 2009, joining the Knesset after the resignation of MK Ephraim Sneh.
He is from the northern Druse village Hurfeish.
Vilna’i will remain home front defense minister until he leaves for China. If he is replaced in the post, it is possible it will go to Minister-without- Portfolio Yossi Peled (Likud).
Marciano could still end up entering the current Knesset.
Labor MK Eitan Cabel will go to the Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday to challenge a ruling by a Histadrut internal court that prevented him from seeking the chairmanship of the powerful labor union.
If Cabel is prevented from running, Peretz could end up running instead. If either Cabel or Peretz defeat Histadrut chief Ofer Eini in next month’s election, they would have to quit the Knesset and Marciano would enter.