Likud accuses centre-left bloc of ‘stealing the Knesset,’ vows right-wing boycott

March 25, 2020 by JNS
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Despite the lack of a working coalition, the centre-left political bloc comprising the Blue and White, Joint List and Yisrael Beiteinu parties got to work on Tuesday crafting and staffing six special parliamentary committees.

Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz (right) and Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman make a joint statement in Ramat Gan on March 9, 2020. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

The right-wing Likud bloc, outraged over what it called the Blue and White bloc’s “anti-democratic behaviour,” boycotted the proceedings in protest.

After gaining control of the Knesset Arrangements Committee, which oversees the creation and staffing of all other parliamentary committees, Blue and White Knesset member Avi Nissenkorn approved late on Monday night the creation of six interim committees, all headed by members of the centre-left bloc. Four of them will need to be approved by the plenum.

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will be led by Blue and White No. 4 Gabi Ashkenazi, while the Finance Committee will be led by Yisrael Beiteinu MK Oded Forer. Meretz Party head Nitzan Horowitz will lead the Committee to Prepare the Education System and Special Education for the Next School Year, while Blue and White MK Ofer Shelah will head up a special Coronavirus Committee.

Two committees will be led by Joint List MKs, one of which is the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, which handles the rehabilitation of disabled Israel Defense Forces veterans, regulations pertaining to soldiers’ salaries, and issues pertaining to families of victims of war and terror. Meir Indor of the Almagor Terror Victims Association called the development a “black day” for Israeli victims of terrorism, the Jewish Press reported. “The very appearance of terror victims and bereaved families in front of Knesset members who have expressed sympathy for the murderers is a terrible thing,” he said.

The Likud said in a statement on Tuesday that “Blue and White together with [Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor] Lieberman and the Joint List decided to steal the Knesset from 2.5 million right-wing voters,” according to a report by Channel 13 News.

“While showing unprecedented destructiveness, ignoring any existing norm in the Knesset’s history, they decided to form no fewer than six temporary committees, in all of which they set a majority for themselves with their representative heading the committee. That is in total contrast with the overall Knesset seat distribution and with the accepted practice throughout 22 [prior] Knessets,” said the statement.

The statement added that the Likud and the right-wing bloc “will not cooperate with this and won’t take part in these undemocratic discussions and votes, which quash and ignore 58 MKs chosen by the people.”

JNS

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