יולי אדלשטיין
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
Photo: Knesset channel
Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu at Knesset's swearing in ceremony

Blue & White rejects Likud plan for key Knesset committees

The move, which comes shortly after 8 people were arrested at a demo against Knesset suspension, enrages Netanyahu's party officials, who accuse Benny Gantz's faction of 'assaulting' Israeli democracy

Yuval Yanko, Yael Freidson, Gilad Cohen , Moran Azulay |
Published: 03.19.20 , 18:19
The Blue & White party on Thursday rejected a proposal by Likud on the formation of key Knesset committees meant to fight coronavirus.
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  • Blue & White said they will put forward their own proposal for The Arrangements Committee, which proposes the Parliamentary Group make-up of the permanent committees among others, during a vote on parliamentary procedures on Monday.
    בני גנץ בנימין נתניהו בני גנץ בנימין נתניהו
    Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu at Knesset's swearing in ceremony
    (Photo: Knesset channel)
    "While the prime minister is fighting the coronavirus outbreak around the clock, Blue & White are engrossed in petty deals meant to destroy democracy,” said the Likud party in a statement. “The Arrangements Committee had never been decided on without everyone’s consent.
    “Now, for the first time in the country’s history, Blue & White come out with their greedy majority that relies on supporters of terror and wants to assault the committee’s make-up,” added the statement, referring to the Arab Joint List support of Benny Gantz.
    Blue & White leader Prime Minister-elect Benny Gantz was this week tapped by President Reuven Rivlin to form the next government after he secured the support of 61 of the Knesset's 120 lawmakers.
    יולי אדלשטייןיולי אדלשטיין
    Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
    (Photo: Knesset channel)
    The move comes shortly after at least eight people were arrested at a demonstration outside the Knesset in Jerusalem over the decision by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to suspend parliamentary procedures earlier this week - citing health concers due to COVID-19 spread.
    Police say the demonstrators violated a Health Ministry directive against mass gatherings.
    The protesters arrived at the Knesset in a convoy of cars on the main Route 1 highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which led to some of the organizers receiving fines for violating the ban on mass gatherings.
    Edelstein, who came under intense criticism for his decision to suspend a vote on filling Knesset committees key to fighting the coronavirus, said Thursday that the key plenum votes would go ahead only on Monday.
    שיירת רכבים יצאה הבוקר לכנסת ירושלים במחאה על הניסיונות לחיסול הדמוקרטיה הישראליתשיירת רכבים יצאה הבוקר לכנסת ירושלים במחאה על הניסיונות לחיסול הדמוקרטיה הישראלית
    Protesters being arrested in front of Knesset
    (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
    The speaker was also rapped by Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, who called for the vote to take place as soon as possible.
    Although Edelstein no longer represents a majority of the new parliament, he is not required by law to resign until a new government is approved, which led him to refuse to hold any vote on replacing him.
    The Knesset is subject to the same restrictions on more than 10 people as the rest of the country, and last week's swearing-in ceremony was conducted piecemeal, with the 120 Knesset members entering the plenum in groups of three to be sworn in.
    Edelstein has been accused of political machinations in favor of his party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, in order to thwart the efforts of his rival Prime Minister-elect Benny Gantz to form a government and bring in replacements for major Knesset positions, including his own speaker's chair.
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