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In protest over power balance, Likud says it won’t send MKs to Knesset committees

Party faction chair to put together proposal calling for greater opposition representation on parliamentary panels

Head of the Shas party MK Aryeh Deri with Likud MK Yariv Levin during a meeting of the right-wing parties, in the Knesset on June 14, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Head of the Shas party MK Aryeh Deri with Likud MK Yariv Levin during a meeting of the right-wing parties, in the Knesset on June 14, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The opposition Likud party said Monday it will not select any of its members to sit on Knesset committees as a protest over what it claims is an unfairly weak representation of opposition lawmakers on the panels.

The party said in a statement that it had authorized its faction chair, MK Yariv Levin, to put forward a proposal, agreed on by all opposition parties, that will be presented to the ruling coalition to reach an agreement “that will ensure representation in the committees deserving for each of the opposition parties according to their size.”

There has been an ongoing dispute about the composition of Knesset committees that initially saw all opposition parties participating in a boycott due to their representation.

Last month some parties dropped the action and began sending lawmakers to staff key panels, after the High Court of Justice refused to intervene in the parliamentary dispute.

The court rejected a petition filed three months earlier by six opposition lawmakers against the makeup of Knesset committees, which they claimed were unfairly balanced to the coalition’s advantage. The court ruled that the matter did not justify judicial intervention

The petition by four members of the Likud party and two members of Shas had sought to annul a July 12 decision by the temporary Knesset Arrangements Committee that formed and set the makeup of the permanent parliamentary committees. They argued that the decision gave coalition members disproportionate control. Opposition parties had also complained at the time that they were not chairing any of the key Knesset committees.

The court pushed for the two sides to resolve the dispute themselves and some changes were indeed made to provide opposition MKs with greater representation. Still, opposition lawmakers continued to boycott many Knesset committees in protest of their composition, though some called to rethink the strategy.

In its ruling to reject the petition, the top court said opposition parties had “disconnected from their duty to represent the interests for which they were elected to the Knesset,” by skipping the meetings.

At the time, Levin charged that the court had delayed ruling on the committee petition for months in order to give coalition parties enough time to move the state budget through various Knesset forums without opposition.

The budget was passed earlier this month.

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