Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein was expected to take the unusual step of appointing himself chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee after the position has remained empty during coalition infighting.
Edelstein planned to ask the House Committee, which deals with parliament rules of procedure, to appoint him as temporary chairman of the committee on Wednesday.
The FADC has been without a chairman since Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman, who previously headed the committee, re-assumed the position of foreign minister after being acquitted of fraud and breach of trust charges in early November.
The committee, which approves the military budget and tackles highly sensitive security and military issues, cannot meet without a chairman.
Earlier this month an increasingly frustrated Edelstein said that he would nominate Hatnua party MK Amram Mitzna, a former IDF general, as chairman of the committee if no nominee was agreed upon by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party. However, he later retracted the threat and extended the nomination period by another week.
Netanyahu and Lapid have been at odds over the committee’s future chairman, with the prime minister pushing to nominate Likud MK Tzahi Hanegbi, himself a former FADC chief, while Lapid hoped to appoint fellow Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah.
Lapid has refused to give up on Shelah’s nomination, despite the prime minister’s continued objection.
Hanegbi is considered a close confidant of Netanyahu on nuclear and strategic issues, and has publicly backed the prime minister’s strategic polices on Iran’s developing nuclear program. Meanwhile Shelah, a former journalist, is considered a dove when it comes to security and the peace process.
Times of Israel staff also contributed to this report.