The Knesset House Committee approved the appointment of Uri Ariel (National Union) to replace Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) as head of the State Control Committee on Tuesday. Ariel was appointed despite bitter opposition from the Labor party.

The House committee named Bar-On to head the important Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. That position was held by Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) until he relinquished it to become a minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition.

Labor wanted the State Control Committee role given to a member of the opposition in order to maintain independence. Ariel’s National Union is part of the 94-strong governing coalition.

Labor MK Amir Peretz said the committee, which works with the state comptroller, remains the “only tool by which to criticize the government, fight for democracy, and keep the balance.” The Labor party had demanded that Peretz be given the post, and had presented 23 signatures in support of the motion.

MK Dov Hanin (Hadash) called the Ariel appointment a “power grab” and “unbefitting a democracy.” MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) also said the post should have been given to someone not associated with with the coalition.