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Israel’s Opposition MK Approved for Judicial Selection Panel; Coalition MK Rejected

By 06/14/2023 3:37 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


Karine Elharrar, a legislator for the Yesh Atid party, was approved to join the judicial selection committee on Wednesday, granting the opposition’s top demand during talks on the reform package.

In parallel, the coalition rejected the candidacy of Tali Gottlieb, a Likud Party MK who had disobeyed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by continuing to run.

58 MKs voted in favor of Elharrar, while 56 MKs voted against him. Gottlieb had 15 MKs on his side and 59 against him.

After a day of heavy political wrangling, an unexpected outcome emerged that left one opening on the Judicial Selection Panel.

The committee cannot meet until every member has been chosen.

The makeup of the nine-member Judicial Selection Panel, which selects judges for all levels of Israel’s civil court system, has been a key issue of contention in discussions over the coalition’s planned judicial reform package.

To fill the seats designated for lawmakers, traditionally one candidate from the coalition and one from the opposition are selected.

In support of two members of the coalition, coalition hardliners wanted not to choose a committee member from the opposition.

If their nominee was rejected, members of the opposition had vowed to end talks.

One candidate would represent the coalition, while the other, Elharrar, would represent the opposition, according to expectations going into the election day.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had offered Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit Party the coalition’s seat on the committee as part of their coalition agreement.

Yizhak Kroyzer, an MK, was the Otzma candidate. Netanyahu had instructed other coalition members competing for the job to withdraw their candidacies prior to the voting in order to ensure votes in favor of Elharrar and Kroyzer.

Gottlieb persisted in continuing to run for office despite being a member of Netanyahu’s own Likud Party.

Netanyahu was unable to maintain coalition discipline and ensure that both Elharrar and Kroyzer would win the votes because the Judicial Selection Committee votes by secret ballot and Gottlieb is on the list.

With three candidates on the ballot, Netanyahu sought to utilize a legal technicality to postpone the appointments right before the planned vote, but he realized that he ran the danger of upsetting the opposition or members of his own coalition.

Only Elharrar and Gottlieb remained on the ballot when Netanyahu requested that Kroyzer withdraw his name from consideration. Netanyahu then gave his coalition partners the order to vote against both candidates, assuring that neither would win with the necessary majority.

In accordance with Knesset procedures, a fresh vote must be scheduled to occur within the next 30 days if a vacancy on the committee is not filled.

In anticipation of the break, Netanyahu anticipated he would have time to address the developing situation.

However, it came as a surprise when a number of Netanyahu’s coalition allies joined the opposition to support Elharrar’s candidacy.

And while Netanyahu complied with the opposition’s demand, he did so without the prime minister’s explicit approval.

Elharrar has been appointed, but the committee cannot meet until the final choice has been made.

After the vote in favor of Elharrar, it is anticipated that Netanyahu would set up a fresh vote to ratify the coalition’s final appointment.


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bobby bracros

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