בני גנץ
Knesset's inauguration ceremony empty due to coronavirus
Photo: Knesset
Knesset's inauguration ceremony empty due to coronavirus

Knesset at impasse as major factions bicker on committees

New coronavirus guidelines threaten to hamper parliamentary work; Likud demand minimum numbers to stay in line with precautions; Blue & White accuse them of 'power grab'

Moran Azulay |
Published: 03.17.20 , 19:46
Tuesday's meeting at Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein's office regarding the convening of the parliament's various committees ended in a shouting match between Blue & White and Likud members.
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  • The vocal disagreement rose from Likud's demand for equal representation in all assemblies in accordance with the Health Ministry directive banning more than ten people from being represented in a single room which is meant to curb the spread of coronavirus.
    בני גנץבני גנץ
    Knesset's inauguration ceremony empty due to coronavirus
    (Photo: Knesset )
    Blue & White refused the request due to the creeping MK majority coalescing around Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – and instead proposed the meetings will take place in a spacious auditorium where each member will have enough personal distance from his colleague.
    Furthermore, Blue & White suggested that the meetings will consist of ten MKs only, with the rest of the committee's members joining via video link, as the cabinet meetings had convened over the past few days.
    Despite the loud exchange of words, no final agreement was reached.
    Blue & White warned Edelstein, that if he does not allow the assembly of the Knesset committee which much decide on committees' leadership and schedule, they will bring the matter to a plenum vote on Wednesday, where it is expected they will have majority support.
    יולי אדלשטייןיולי אדלשטיין
    Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkiewicz)
    Edelstein, who has been criticized lately for his reluctance to allow a vote on his replacement, announced that if there is no agreement he will bring the matter before the plenum.
    Blue & White chairman Benny Gantz said that “Likud… is trying to prevent the work of the Knesset. If it isn’t enough that the Knesset hasn’t functioned for a full year, now they also want the new Knesset to do the minimum required work in a time of crisis.”
    “The moves by Likud are a dangerous precedent for democracy and we’ll fight this with all the strength we can muster,” he added.
    “It could be that it doesn’t really interest you with all the coronavirus in the air, but as of today you’re not living in a democracy,” Yair Lapid, a member of the Blue & White leadership, wrote on Facebook in response to the impasse.
    The speaker of the last Knesset [Yuli Edelstein], who wasn’t elected to his post, closed the Knesset. Before that he refused a request of a majority of Knesset members — 62 in total — to choose a new Knesset speaker,” he added.
    Likud MK Miki Zohar said it’s Blue & White that is to blame.
    “Blue & White is again trying to break the rules of the Knesset. They’re behaving brutally and are disconnected from reality out of their hatred for the prime minister,” he tweeted.
    Zohar claimed Likud offered to establish 10 Knesset committees but Blue & White refused.

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