Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee won’t get chairman until at least May

Knesset Speaker Edelstein is temporary chairman of Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee; friction between Likud and Yesh Atid prevents new appointment.

Yuli Edelstein 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Yuli Edelstein 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is likely to remain without a chairman until the parliament returns from its extended spring recess on May 12, due to ongoing fights between Likud and Yesh Atid, Likud sources said Sunday.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein is the temporary chairman of the committee but the few meetings of the committee since Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman left to be foreign minister have been chaired by different MKs.
The deadline for appointing a new chairman is Saturday night but the fight is not expected to end by then, so Edelstein’s tenure will have to be extended.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid have agreed on a rotation between MKs Tzachi Hanegbi and Ofer Shelah. But they have not been able to reach a deal on who will go first.
If Hanegbi becomes committee chairman, Netanyahu will not have to honor a commitment he made to him to become a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in place of MK Ophir Akunis, who received the post for a year.
Netanyahu wants to keep in the post Akunis, who is the prime minister’s former aide.
The prime minister will also need to find a new coalition chairman, because Yariv Levin wants to leave his post when the Knesset begins its spring recess on March 19.
Before he goes, Levin wants to pass three laws: the referendum bill, haredi draft legislation and electoral reforms.