How Ministers Vote on Bills Will Stay Secret for Now, Despite Livni Vow

Justice minister had promised greater transparency, but cabinet has to vote on any change first.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The deliberations of the powerful committee that determines the Israeli government's position on proposed legislation will remain secret despite recent pledges to the contrary by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

Livni announced last Wednesday that as of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation's next meeting, how ministers voted in the body would be made public.

But on Sunday, cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit said changing the procedure required cabinet approval. When the committee met Sunday, Livni said she would seek the requisite support of her fellow ministers.

Since the Ministerial Committee for Legislation is made up of the cabinet ministers and since the governing coalition has a majority in the Knesset, its vote usually determines whether legislation passes or is shelved.

The committee's deliberations have always been entirely confidential, with even minutes of the meetings withheld from public view so that ministers' positions are not subject to pressure. But the lack of transparency has enabled secret political deals that have blocked legislation and allowed interference by special interests.

Livni initially planned to make all the committee's deliberations public, but in the face of opposition, she announced that after consultation with various professionals, she would as a first step have the committee members' votes made public. Even that change has also been deferred, though, following Mandelblit's statement the cabinet as a whole must vote on it.

Mandelblit is now expected to consider the legal aspects of the change and then present his position to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a related development Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation declined to support a bill introduced by Habayit Hayehudi Knesset Member Orit Strock that would require the disclosure of the full minutes of the committee's deliberations, including how the committee members vote. That proposal too will be considered by the full cabinet at a later date.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnuah).Credit: AP

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott