Four Kahol Lavan Ministers Resign From Knesset, Following Passage of 'Norwegian Law'

Another cabinet member is expected to resign on Thursday, meaning that five new MKs will be sworn in, but the coalition will lose one Knesset seat to the opposition

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Cabinet Ministers Chili Tropper, Alon Schuster, Asaf Zamir and Michael Biton submit their resignation as Knesset members to Speaker Yariv Levin, Jerusalem, June 17, 2020.
Cabinet Ministers Chili Tropper, Alon Schuster, Asaf Zamir and Michael Biton submit their resignation as Knesset members to Speaker Yariv Levin, Jerusalem, June 17, 2020.Credit: Noam Moskowitz
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Four cabinet ministers from Kahol Lavan resigned their Knesset seats Wednesday, in accordance with the new so-called Norwegian Law, which enables a limited number of cabinet members to resign from parliament but to retain their government posts. In the process, they free up Knesset slots for members of their party further down the electoral slate, who previously did not make it into the Israeli parliament.

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The four ministers who submitted their resignations on Wednesday are Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper; Tourism Minister Asaf Zamir; Michael Biton, a minister at the Defense Ministry; and Agriculture Minister Alon Schuster.

An additional Kahol Lavan minister, Science, Technology and Space Minister Izhar Shay, is currently in quarantine due to possible exposure to the coronavirus. He is expected to make his Knesset resignation official on Thursday. The resignations will take effect after 48 hours and will lead to the swearing in of five new Knesset members.

Also Wednesday, Interior Minister Arye Dery resigned as a member of Knesset on behalf of the Shas party.

Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party ran as a single ticket in the March Knesset elections but the slate actually consisted of his own Hosen L’Yisrael party as well as Yesh Atid and Telem. When Gantz opted to join the Netanyahu government, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, and the head of Telem, Moshe Ya’alon, split with Kahol Lavan and took their parties into the opposition. Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz has announced that four of the five new Knesset members will be joining the ranks of the coalition, including two that had been affiliated with Yesh Atid-Telem. The fifth Knesset member, is expected to be Yorai Lahav-Hertzanu of Yesh Atid, who will remain in opposition and reduce the ranks of the coalition by one seat.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz at a cabinet meeting, June 2020.Credit: Marc Israel Sellem

The ministers who took advantage of the Norwegian Law are identified with liberal legislation that Kahol Lavan promised to advance during the election campaign. By leaving the Knesset, they will save themselves from having to vote against laws that are not in line with their worldview.

On Wednesday, Deputy Education Minister Meir Parush, a member of the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox alliance United Torah Judaism, also submitted his resignation. Another minister from his party is expected to resign, although they have yet to come forward. It is still unclear when the other coalition parties would use the new law.

On June 16, a representative of the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party Shas, who was meant to take advantage of the law to enter the Knesset, had to withdraw after it was revealed he had made comments hinting that women developed breast cancer for not dressing modestly.

The new Knesset members from Gantz’s original Hosen L’Yisrael faction are Einav Kabla and Hila Shay Vazan. They are to be joined by Tehila Friedman-Nachalon of Yesh Atid and Michal Cotler Wunsh of Telem, who will cross the aisle and join the coalition.

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