Ben Gvir threatens to hold up formation of government if not given key role with veto power

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Otzma Yehudit party leader Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, December 12, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Otzma Yehudit party leader Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, December 12, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Far-right Otzma Yehudit party leader Itamar Ben Gvir threatens to hold up the formation of the next government unless he is made deputy head of the government’s powerful Ministerial Committee for Legislation, a position that may give him veto power over the coalition posture towards bills.

“We want a deputy in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation,” says Ben Gvir at the outset of his party’s faction meeting, adding that without this appointment, “we can’t form a government.”

Veto power in the committee, which is expected to be headed by prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, can be altered in each government’s working procedures. A spokesman for Ben Gvir confirms that veto power is his ultimate intention.

Ben Gvir asserts that “some Likud MKs” are preventing Netanyahu from granting his request, although the Otzma Yehudit chief declines reporter requests to specify who these are.

Ben Gvir has previously raised suspicions that Netanyahu will renege on promises and understandings reached between their parties, and now says it “may be that they don’t really want to pass what they promised us.”

Specifically, Ben Gvir has championed yet-to-be-disclosed bills that would loosen security forces’ open-fire rules and provide them a form of immunity.

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