Renegade MK Chikli vows to challenge Bennett's rebel designation

MK Amichai Chikli attempted unsuccessfully on Sunday to persuade the Supreme Court to prevent Monday’s Knesset hearing.

New Knesset member Amichai Chikli  seen at the Knesset , ahead of the opening Knesset session of the new government, on April 05, 2021. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
New Knesset member Amichai Chikli seen at the Knesset , ahead of the opening Knesset session of the new government, on April 05, 2021.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

The Knesset House Committee is expected to approve Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s request on Monday to declare renegade Yamina MK Amichai Chikli a hostile rebel who has left without following proper procedure.

Immediately after that, he intends to appeal the decision to the Jerusalem District Court.

Chikli attempted unsuccessfully on Sunday to persuade the Supreme Court to prevent Monday’s Knesset hearing. He also asked the Supreme Court to force Yamina leaders Bennett and Ayelet Shaked to come to the Knesset, where they would be questioned by opposition MKs on why they did not keep their campaign promises.

The judges told Chikli to withdraw his petition because the Knesset decision had not been made yet.

Justice Uzi Vogelman said the court could only intervene if the decision against Chikli passes. Justice Yitzhak Amit asked Chikli if he could find another example of the court telling the Knesset not to deal with something.

Yamina head Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid in the Knesset Plenum during June 2, 2021 presidential elections. (credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)Yamina head Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid in the Knesset Plenum during June 2, 2021 presidential elections. (credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)

By law, if Chikli is declared a rebel, he cannot run for the next Knesset with any current Knesset faction unless he quits the Knesset immediately, but he could form or join a new party.

“The decision in the Knesset will be political in essence,” Chikli told KAN News on Sunday. “My chances of winning are very low.”

The meeting will be chaired by Blue and White MK Eitan Ginzburg because the mother of Knesset House Committee chairman Nir Orbach (Yamina) passed away on Saturday. Her funeral was attended by coalition and opposition MKs, who both want the wavering Orbach on their side.

The case against another wavering Yamina MK, Abir Kara, was about to be closed, Ynet reported Sunday. Kara illegally voted twice in the Knesset plenum, which is a crime.

“After Abir Kara decided to save this government, of course, the case will be closed,” Likud MK Shlomo Karhi said. “That is the deal. That is corruption.”

The coalition is “on safe ground” but “very complicated to maintain,” Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid told diplomatic reporters Sunday.

Asked how long it would last, he said: “I think we will make it through the next Knesset session [May 9 to July 27], and then you can ask me again.”

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.