Resignations stir Knesset politics

New Knesset members must be sworn in to replace Peres, Ramon, Itzik, Landver.

peres good 298.88 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
peres good 298.88 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
The resignations from the Knesset of Labor MKs Shimon Peres, Dalia Itzik and Haim Ramon will set off a chain reaction of comings and goings in the Knesset, which is not in session. The MKs are quitting because of a law that prevents MKs who switched parties from running for Knesset with their new party. The same law is expected to force the resignation of another Labor MK, Sofa Landver, who joined the Knesset in place of the retired Avraham Shochat on Wednesday and is running with the Israel Beiteinu Party. Peres, Itzik, Ramon and Landver would be replaced by the next names on the Labor list: former MKs Weizmann Shiri, Avi Yehezkel and Effi Oshaya and newcomer Shmuel Abuav. But Oshaya and Abuav are expected to turn down joining the Knesset, Abuav because he is the director-general of the Ministry of Construction and Housing and Oshaya because he hopes to run with Kadima. Oshaya held preliminary talks with Sharon ahead of the prime minister's stroke, which were a secret until now. He intends to join the Kadima list after Labor's primary race on Tuesday. Instead of Oshaya and Abuav, the next names to join the Knesset would be 77-year-old Tovah Ilan of Meimad and political strategist Ronen Tzur. Labor fired Tzur and his partner Motti Morel two weeks ago from their jobs as the party's campaign strategists. They were replaced by Shmuelik Cohen, who has since resigned in scandal. Tzur said he would have to decide whether to join the Knesset or advise other parties in the campaign. If Tzur decides not to join, the opening would go to the 29th name on Labor's list, Shula Cohen, a secretary for the workers union in Karmiel. Even if Ilan and Tzur would serve for only two and a half months and never get sworn in, they would be entitled to a package of benefits that included a free newspaper every day for the rest of their lives, free rides on buses and trains and a severage package in the thousands of shekels. Shiri said returning to the Knesset was less exciting for him than Peres's departure. "This is the first time Peres has willingly quit anything in his life," Shiri said. "If he doesn't withdraw his resignation, I am happy for the people of Israel that after 46 years, Peres has finally left the Knesset. I was three years old when Peres was first elected and next month I will be 50."