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The 20th Knesset set an all-time record
Photo: Gil Yohanan
20th Knesset sets all-time record on resigning MKs
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has received 24 resignation letters since last elections; while some utilized the Norwegian law to allow an MK to replace a minister resigning from the Knesset, a whopping 13 MKs resigned due to personal, political or public reasons.

The resignation of Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri Wednesday marked an all-time record for for the 20th Knesset in the category of MKs resigning. In some cases, parliamentarians resigned of their own volition over personal or political considerations, whereas in others circumstances forced them to exit Israel's parliament.

 

 

Regardless of what motivated them, 24 resignation letters were presented to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein thus far, some of which also came from ministers resigning as part of the Norwegian law allowing to hold ministerial positions without being MKs. Thirteen MKs, meanwhile, resigned for personal reasons.

 

Among the first and most prominent of the departing MKs was Peri's fellow Yesh Atid parliamentarian and former education minister Rabbi Shai Piron, whose tenure in the Knesset following Yesh Atid's exodus for the opposition after the last elections was short-lived.

 

The 13 MKs to resign for personal reasons so far this term
The 13 MKs to resign for personal reasons so far this term

 

While Piron served for a time as deputy Knesset speaker, he could not find his way in the opposition benches and was not able to impact events as he had wished, prompting him to inform his party's chairman Yair Lapid of his decision to retire.

 

Similar circumstances marked Zionist Union MK Manuel Trajtenberg's departure. Trajtenberg, an esteemed figure in Israeli academia, came to the Knesset with much fanfare on the heels of the then-recent linkage between Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, after leading the committee created in the wake of Israel's largest ever social protests in the summer of 2011.

 

Expectations were high following Trajtenberg's arrival, but in reality the professor was unsuccessful in achieving a prominent status in parliament, and ended up retiring for a return to academia.

 

Trajtenberg and Piron were not the only MKs to bow out of the Knesset feeling they were not maximizing their potential, however.

 

Former defense minister Ya'alon (L) resigned amid criticism of the head of his party PM Netanyahu (Photo: Haim Horenstein)
Former defense minister Ya'alon (L) resigned amid criticism of the head of his party PM Netanyahu (Photo: Haim Horenstein)
 

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon from the ruling Likud party became the highest ranking minister and MK to announce his resignation, while not sparing the head of his own party, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, from criticism.

 

Former Yisrael Beytenu MK Sharon Gal also announced his resignation, citing his inability to carry out his agenda.

 

Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit, meanwhile, announced his resignation from the Knesset after his loss to Avi Gabbay in the Labor Party's primaries.

 

In other cases, however, MKs were forced to resign due to allegations of impropriety surfacing in the media, including Bayit Yehudi's Yinon Magal and Likud's Silvan Shalom.

 

Former Likud MK Danon resigned to take over the post of Israel's UN ambassador (UN PhotoEskinder Debebe)
Former Likud MK Danon resigned to take over the post of Israel's UN ambassador (UN PhotoEskinder Debebe)

 

Two additional MKs resigned after finding more lucrative positions—with Danny Danon being appointed Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations and Danny Atar being selected the head of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael.

 

Some resignations came in order to clear a place for another party MK to enter the Knesset as part of the aforementioned Norwegian law. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, for one, resigned to allow Shuli Mualem to enter the Knesset to replace him, whereas Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon resigned for Akram Hasson's accession to the Knesset on behalf of Kahlon's Kulanu party.

 

Education Minister Bennett (R) resigned to allow MK Mualem (L) to enter the Knesset to replace him (Photo: Barel Efraim)
Education Minister Bennett (R) resigned to allow MK Mualem (L) to enter the Knesset to replace him (Photo: Barel Efraim)

 

Avi Gabbay deserves mention here as well, as he was considered a professional appointment to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, a post he vacated following his objections to the approval of the agreement regarding natural gas drilling rights.

 

Meretz Chairperson Zehava Gal-On also resigned from the Knesset to focus on her party's impending primaries and the changes it wished to implement both to her party and its institutions.

 


First published: 02.10.18, 15:24
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