Deri poised to step down as MK Avraham Michaeli to take his place

UTJ remaining tight lipped if and when Porush will step down in favor of Asher.

Arye Deri
The burdens of being an MK and having to stay in the Knesset till the early hours of the morning for crucial votes, while at the same time working as head of not one but two ministries, are soon to be lifted from Economy Minister and Negev and Galilee Development Minister Arye Deri.
Following the passage in July of the so-called “Norwegian Law,” one MK from each party serving as a minister or deputy minister may now quit as an MK in order to allow a candidate on the party’s electoral list to enter the Knesset in their stead.
Deri has said on more than one occasion that he would step down as MK in order to let Avraham Michaeli, who served as an MK since 2006 before missing out in the January elections, to re-enter the Knesset.
Deri is expected to step down as soon as next week, as the Knesset winter session begins on Monday.
The situation within United Torah Judaism, which strongly backed the Norwegian Law, is slightly less predictable, due to the tensions between its two constituent components, the non-hassidic Degel Hatorah Party and the hassidic Agudat Yisrael Party.
Former MK Yaakov Asher would like to regain his seat, but would require Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush to step down as an MK.
But Degel Hatorah and Agudat Yisrael have been at loggerheads since before this year’s elections over the division of Knesset seats within the faction, in which Agudat Yisrael has four and Degel Hatorah just two.
Degel Hatorah argues that the haredi population is now, at the very least, divided evenly between its hassidic and non-hassidic components and that it should have an equal number of MKs. Agudat Yisrael insists, however, that since there is a schism in the non-hassidic haredi camp, which led a significant proportion of former Degel Hatorah’s voters to boycott the last election possibly causing the loss of UTJ’s seventh mandate, the current balance of Knesset representation is still fair.
There are concerns in Degel Hatorah that Porush may not vacate his Knesset seat because of the antagonism that has plagued the relationship with Agudat Yisrael in recent months, which has included serious fights over appointments to various committees in the legislature.
Asher declined to comment on Tuesday to The Jerusalem Post on the likelihood of Porush standing down in his favor, although a senior source in Degel Hatorah said it was still likely this would happen.