Shaul Mofaz MK (Kadima) was appointed by his party on Wednesday to serve as chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee until August 5, 2011.

Mofaz, second on the Kadima list behind Tzipi Livni and a former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, replaces Tzachi Hanegbi, who was suspended from the Knesset in September over a moral turpitude conviction.

Following Hanegbi's suspension, Kadima had expressed interest in giving up the chairmanship of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in exchange for chairmanship of the Economic Affairs Committee, currently headed by Likud MK Ofir Akunis.

The Likud party, however, refused to change the agreements it made with Kadima following the most recent Knesset elections in February 2009.

The opposition Kadima party is the largest party in the Knesset.

Hanegbi had been the first opposition MK to serve as the head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.