Likud's chief Netanyahu critic given Knesset Economy Committee chair

10 of 12 chairs were approved, while the two other committees will be headed by Likud MKs who will be approved in a faction meeting.

 THE CONDUCT of Netanyahu and his obedient cronies over the last year has been nothing less than despicable. (Pictured: With Likud MKs Miri Regev and David Bitan) (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
THE CONDUCT of Netanyahu and his obedient cronies over the last year has been nothing less than despicable. (Pictured: With Likud MKs Miri Regev and David Bitan)
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Wednesday to appoint MK David Bitan as Knesset Economy Committee chairman, the Likud said in a statement.

Bitan repeatedly criticized him during the coalition negotiations, and the move is widely regarded as an attempt to appease him.

Bitan, a former coalition whip, was chosen over MK May Golan, who was reportedly offered the position but turned it down.

Golan was promised a position as deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Office but was denied the position since Netanyahu promised it to four different MKs, while the law only allows for two.

Bitan cannot serve as a minister since he is currently standing trial for bribery, money laundering, fraud and breach of trust over acts committed during his tenure as deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion and then as a member of Knesset.

 MEMBERS OF Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition applaud his speech yesterday at the Knesset. Will they continue to give him a Standing O? (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) MEMBERS OF Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition applaud his speech yesterday at the Knesset. Will they continue to give him a Standing O? (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Netanyahu's coalition approves committee chairs in Knesset plenum

The Knesset plenum on Wednesday approved the allocation of spots in the 12 permanent Knesset committees, marking another step towards normalizing the legislative branch's operation following the November 1 election.

The vote passed 70-0, as the final agreement regarding the allocations was acceptable to most of the opposition.

Yesh Atid's MKs, however, did not participate in the vote, since "everything was agreed upon in advance" and "the party prefers to deal with content and not jobs, and would "arrive and work for the public in any job we will fill," Yesh Atid's spokesperson said.

The Knesset Arrangements Committee earlier approved the 10 chairmanship proposals that were put before it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee FADC position to MK Yuli Edelstein. According to Likud party protocol, this, along with Bitan as Economy Committee chair, need approval in a Likud faction meeting, and therefore will be brought for approval at a further date.

Out of the 12 committee chairpersons, eight will be MKs from the coalition and four from the opposition.

The coalition-led committee chairs were largely as expected.

 Likud MK Ofir Katz will chair the House Committee; United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni will chair the Finance Committee; Religious Zionist Party MK Simcha Rothman will chair the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee; Shas MK Yaakov Asher will chair the Interior Minister; UTJ MK Yisrael Eichler will chair the Labor and Welfare Committee; and Shas MK Yosef Taib will chair the Education Committee.

The four MKs leading the oppositions' committees will be Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer, who will chair the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs; Yesh Atid MK Mickey Levy, who will chair the State Control Committee; Hadash-Ta'al MK Ayman Odeh, who will chair the Science and Technology Committee; and National Unity MK Pnina Tamano-Shata, who will chair the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.

Following the plenum, the committees themselves convened and ratified the choice of chairman.

Regarding the makeup of the committee themselves, the coalition will have a majority in every committee save for the Science and Technology Committee and the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.

Every bill in the Israeli legislature is debated and amended in one of the committees. The committee head controls the pace of the discussions, but cannot veto laws from passing.

Following the November 1 election, the only committees that were formed were the Arrangements Committee and temporary Finance and FADC comm