Israel Elections: Knesset factions to unite against funding for Sa'ar

House Committee to vote today to declare Shasha-Biton a ‘deserter'

Israeli parliament member Yifat Shasha Biton visits the coronadepartment at the Ziv Hospital in Tzfat, Northern Israel. December 03, 2020. (photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
Israeli parliament member Yifat Shasha Biton visits the coronadepartment at the Ziv Hospital in Tzfat, Northern Israel. December 03, 2020.
(photo credit: DAVID COHEN/FLASH 90)
In the first test for prime ministerial candidate Gideon Sa’ar’s new party, New Hope, the Knesset House Committee will vote on Monday to decide whether to declare MK Yifat Shasha-Biton “a deserter” from Likud.
Shasha-Biton entered the Knesset with former finance minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu Party and was later given a slot on the Likud list as part of a merger agreement between Likud and Kulanu.
After she announced she was joining New Hope, Likud faction chairman Miki Zohar asked the House Committee to rule that she had deserted Likud and could therefore not take party funding with her.
The factions represented in the current Knesset are expected to gang up on Shasha-Biton and vote for Zohar’s proposal, sending a message to Sa’ar, whose party is taking support away from several parties.
Losing Shasha-Biton’s funding would be a blow to New Hope, which would be left only with the funding from the Derech Eretz Party of MKs Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser.
There is a legal basis to declare Shasha-Biton a deserter because she voted against the Likud’s bill to extend the deadline for passing the state budget that would have avoided early elections, the House Committee’s legal adviser, Arbel Astrachan, ruled over the weekend.
Shasha-Biton has countered that even though she was part of the Likud faction, she never joined the Likud Party, and she represented Kulanu in the Knesset.
Astrachan ruled that if Shasha-Biton is officially declared a deserter by the committee, she would have to resign from the Knesset immediately, otherwise she would not be eligible to run in the March 23 election.
If she quits, Shasha-Biton would be replaced in the Knesset by the next candidate on the Likud list, former Likud MK Yehudah Glick. The Likud would also have to appoint one of its MKs as the new head of the Knesset coronavirus committee.