Netanyahu's coalition to expand Norwegian Law

During the Lapid-Bennett government, the opposition harshly criticized the coalition for applying the law 21 times.

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen at a security cabinet meeting on January 5, 2023 (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen at a security cabinet meeting on January 5, 2023
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

The Knesset Constitution Committee led by Religious Zionism Party MK Simcha Rothman filed on Thursday a law proposal that would enable additional Likud ministers and deputy ministers to resign from the Knesset as part of the Norwegian Law.

The law currently enables between three to five ministers or deputy ministers per party to resign their positions as Knesset members in order to focus fully on their roles as ministers. This enables the next person on the party list to enter the Knesset.

According to the current law, up to three ministers or deputy ministers may resign from a party with four to six seats. Four may resign in a party of seven to nine seats and five may resign from a party with 10 seats or more.

The Likud's new Norweigan Law

According to the new proposal, in parties with 18 seats or more, up to a third may resign the Knesset in order to serve as ministers or deputy ministers. The Likud has 32 seats, and this means that up to 10 MKs would be allowed to resign and 10 other MKs would enter the Knesset, instead of the current five.

During the Lapid-Bennett government, the opposition harshly criticized the coalition for applying the law 21 times, arguing that the government was trying to make its life easier by relieving many of its member from parliamentary duty, as well as the added cost of the new MKs' salaries.

 Israeli Prime Minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid arrives to a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on December 5, 2022 (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Israeli Prime Minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid arrives to a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on December 5, 2022 (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

According to the new law, however, up to 24 MKs could resign: 10 from Likud, five from RZP (according to its 14 seats prior to Otzma Yehudit and Noam breaking away from it), five from Shas and four from United Torah Judaism.

Norwegian Law used is Israeli politics despite criticism

Despite the criticism, many MKs from both sides of the aisle believe that the Norwegian Law worked well in the past, as it enabled the Knesset members to focus fully on parliamentary activity and the ministers to focus on their offices.

Five ministers or deputy ministers already resigned under the law, including UTJ's Housing and Construction Minister MK Yizhak Goldknopf, the Likud's Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar and Tourism Minister Haim Katz, Shas' Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry Yoav Ben-Tzur, and Otzma Yehudit's Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu.

If the Likud ends up allowing eight more members of its list to resign, it would bring into the Knesset a number of new MKs, as well as former MKs Eti Atiah and Keti Shitrit.

Yesh Atid posted on Twitter in response, "A new peak in hypocrisy – a full Norwegian law. After all the venom and poison, the Likud is reaching new heights this time and doubling the Norwegian law. On the day that the weak Netanyahu decides to trample and destroy the Israeli court, he and his partners continue to humiliate the Knesset and make it Norwegian and weak," the party wrote.