Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Inactive Since Lieberman's Reappointment

Labor lawmaker demands chairman be appointed immediate to deal with several urgent security and political issues.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee hasn’t met since its chairman, Avigdor Lieberman, was reappointed Foreign Minister three weeks ago. Several important decisions are on hold, pending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement of a replacement.

One issue that has been left unresolved is compensation for reserve soldiers who lose income during their reserve duty. The current directive has expired and was never reapproved by the committee. Other military and political issues have also been left up in the air, due to the lack of a permanent chairman.

MK Omer Bar-Lev (Labor) demanded yesterday that the chairman of the House Committee, MK Tzachi Hanegbi, immediately act to have a permanent chairman appointed. Not convening the committee for almost a month “is a privilege we cannot afford,” Bar-Lev wrote in a letter to Hanegbi and the members of the committee. “Imagine if there was a security event that necessitated our clear stand, or that a military decision was taken without the legislature having a chance to examine it. In Israel’s security situation, these scenarios are far from improbable.”

Bar-Lev added that he had read in the newspaper that dozens of activists from Gaza and abroad were planning a flotilla from Gaza towards Israeli Navy vessels at sea. “It is unacceptable that such information is made known to committee members only through the press, and in this case, the committee must be convened,” he wrote.

“This conduct by the government and Knesset is unfortunate,” Bar-Lev said. “We should examine ways to prevent such a situation in the future by appointing a temporary chairman, or by extending the term of the current chairman until a replacement is chosen.”

Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud-Beitenu faction meeting at the Knesset, Jerusalem, November 11, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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