Under Coalition Deal With Kahlon, Every Party Will Have Veto Power

Galant will not be invited to all security cabinet meetings, Kulanu will have seat on Judicial Appointments Committee.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, April 29, 2015.
Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, April 29, 2015.
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The coalition agreement between Likud and Kulanu signed last week reveals yet another victory for Moshe Kahlon as part of his battle to preserve the standing of the Supreme Court: A minister from Kulanu will occupy one of the two ministerial seats on the Judicial Appointments Committee. The other minister will be the justice minister. This move is expected to weaken the power of Likud and Habayit Hayehudi MKs who openly want to affect the choice of justices.

The full coalition agreement between the two parties published officially Sunday reveals that two of Netanyahu’s controversial pet initiatives could find themselves without adequate support in the Knesset to advance: All coalition partners received veto power over the Basic Law on Israel as a Jewish state; and for the “large party law,” which would require the president to give the task of forming the government after an election to the head of the largest party in the Knesset.

MK Yoav Galant (Kulanu), who will most likely be appointed a minister, will not be invited automatically to all meetings of the security cabinet, and will serve as an observer on behalf of Kahlon’s party at only some of the sessions. Thus Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahlon solved the disagreement between them over the former general’s addition to the security cabinet. Galant is the only minister from Kulanu mentioned by name in the party’s coalition agreement with Likud.

“The designated minister Yoav Galant will usually be invited as an observer to the Ministerial Committee on National Security Affairs,” states the wording of the agreement, which was officially released Sunday when the signed agreement was presented to the Knesset secretariat, as required by law.

Kulanu’s demand not to advance laws harming the standing of the High Court of Justice is expressed clearly in the document, and it states that the party will be able to vote as it sees fit on the matter.

Kulanu received the posts of finance, housing and environmental protection ministers in the agreement, as well as a deputy minister in a ministry still not decided, plus the chairmanship of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee and another subcommittee to be chosen. Kulanu will also appoint a deputy Knesset speaker in rotation with Likud. Two Kulanu ministers will serve on the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

Netanyahu’s fourth government is expected to have 22 ministers, but will be sworn in in two stages, as the present law allows only 18 cabinet ministers. The initial cabinet will have 10 ministers from Likud, two from Kulanu, two from Habayit Hayehudi, and one each for Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu. In the second stage Likud will add two more ministers and each of the other parties will receive an additional cabinet post. Deputy ministers will be appointed only in the second stage – after the law is changed – with the exception of the deputy health minister, United Torah Judaism Chairman Yaakov Litzman, who will have the standing of a full minister.

The agreement also includes a section that would allow Netanyahu to expand the coalition, and states that if a coalition with over 70 MKs is formed, changes in the agreement could be made – including the allocation of ministerial posts. Likud sources said this section is not intended to prepare for a unity government with the Zionist Union, but to allow Netanyahu maneuvering space during the coalition negotiations with other parties, if not all of them agree to sign agreements and enter the government.

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