Liberman accuses Labor of betraying deal on panel

Yisrael Beytenu head says party violated agreement to support Herzog, Rotem in secret-ballot vote on judicial selection c'tee.

High Court of Justice 370 (photo credit: yonah jeremy bob)
High Court of Justice 370
(photo credit: yonah jeremy bob)
The Labor Party violated an agreement with Likud Beytenu to support both Labor faction head Isaac Herzog and Likud Beytenu MK David Rotem in last week’s secret-ballot vote for slots on the judicial selection committee, Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman charged Monday.
The coalition suffered a blow in the vote when Shas MK Yitzhak Cohen received four more votes than Rotem, enabling Cohen to join the committee along with Herzog. While fingers were initially pointed at MKs in Likud Beytenu for voting against Rotem, Liberman shifted the blame to Labor in a Knesset press conference.
Liberman said there were 13 ballots in which MKs voted for only Herzog and left the second candidate blank. He said he warned coalition chairman Yariv Levin in advance that Labor would not honor the deal.
“If the other side would have kept the deal, Rotem would have been elected,” Liberman said. “When I saw the results, I was happy that there was not one ticket with only Rotem, because we proved that in our party our word is our bond and we keep our commitments.”
Herzog vigorously denied Liberman’s accusations. He said there were only three ballots that had only his name on them in the secret ballot vote, and he knew they were cast by Arab MKs.
In the press conference, Liberman defended a proposed bill by Rotem that would limit the number of no-confidence motions, calling the parliamentary tool grossly overused.
Levin has asked all the factions in the coalition to submit their opinions on how to change the electoral system to him by next week so he can work on a unified proposal. Both Rotem’s bill and a rival bill by Yesh Atid would eliminate a law initiating elections if the state budget is not passed, but Levin said he disagreed.
“Without a sword hanging over the MKs, they will have no motivation to pass the budget,” he said.