Blue and White says Likud blocking coronavirus committee

The Blue and White party is accusing Likud of dragging its feet on the formation of a vital ad hoc Knesset committee to oversee the country’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

Likud said earlier Tuesday it and allies would boycott Knesset committee discussions after the Blue and White-led Arrangements Committee voted overnight to form six oversight panels that Likud  said was unfairly apportioned.

According to Blue and White, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, a Likud lawmaker, has blocked a necessary plenum vote on forming and staffing the committee.

“Do not delay the formation of a Knesset committee whose purpose is to help the country contend with coronavirus,” the party says in a statement.

“Today, more than ever, the people need their elected representatives to put their political considerations aside and go to work for them. We call upon Likud and other parties to participate in parliamentary activity and join us in our work on behalf of the people.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein at a Likud party faction meeting in the Knesset, on April 30, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

There is no immediate response from Likud.

Netanyahu has until now managed the crisis with input from professionals but no Knesset oversight.

A High Court ruling last week requires a panel to be formed by Tuesday to oversee the Shin Bet’s use of phone tracking technology to inform possible coronavirus carriers. Without oversight, the program would have to be shut down, the court ruled.

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