Israeli Opposition fails to pass term limits for PM

Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli: Too bad vote not by secret ballot.

Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Benjamin Netanyahu
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The Knesset voted against a series of bills that would have enacted term limits for Israel’s prime minister of two terms or eight years, following a stormy debate in the plenum on Wednesday.
The three bills were sponsored by Zionist Union faction head Merav Michaeli, Knesset State Control Committee chairwoman Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), and Joint List MKs Ahmad Tibi and Osama Saadi. They were defeated by seven, eight, and nine votes, respectively.
“If the vote were held by secret ballot, it would have apparently been supported by 119 MKs,” Michaeli said.
“Power corrupts, party confuses, and when a man sits too long at the top of the pyramid, the job serves him, rather than the needs of the public.”
Michaeli noted that then- MK Benjamin Netanyahu himself said before he was first elected prime minister in 1996 that he would not serve more than two terms.
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said a prime minister will never do what he did not accomplish in four terms.
“Prime minister of Israel is the hardest job in the world,” Lapid said. “Government requires new blood and new ideas and to update its content. Every once in a while, it is important to put aside old ideas and bring in new people with new ideas and new plans for the country.”
Tibi said that if Israel likes comparing itself to the United States, this was one way the two countries should be the same.
Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), who was heckled by Lapid, said that Yesh Atid’s bylaws allow the party’s chairman to serve for four terms. Elkin said terms limits did not fit Israel’s parliamentary electoral system.
“Other countries with the same political system as Israel do not have such limits,” Elkin said. “The public picks parties, not the prime minister.”