Litzman's Hanging Onto the Horns of the Finance Committee Altar

Claims the cabinet wants to oust him over his demand for higher child allowances for big families

It seems that the Knesset Finance Committee will not be discussing itself this week, or more specifically the ouster of its chairman, Yakov Litzman.

Litzman is in no hurry to advance his own departure in favor of Yisrael Beiteinu nominee Stas Misezhnikov. Apparently the discussion will only be held in another two or even three weeks.

In two and a half weeks, the Knesset stops for the Passover break. The opposition dearly hopes that Litzman's ouster can wait until afterwards.

The delay in replacing Litzman may even hold up the cabinet reshuffle, namely Isaac Herzog's appointment as Welfare Minister, and Yitzhak Aharonovitch's as Tourism Minister. Under the agreement signed between Kadima, Labor and Yisrael Beiteinu, the chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee must be replaced before the ministerial appointments receive the approval of the Knesset plenum.

At the end of last week, Litzman advised coalition chairman Avigdor Yitzhaki of Kadima that he refused to voluntarily step down. He agreed to put his own ouster on the Finance Committee agenda, but not with any urgency. Since the weekly agenda for the Knesset Finance Committee was already set, the discussion of his ouster would in any case have to wait for next week at least.

That said, the House Committee of the Knesset will be discussing the Litzman issue on Tuesday, as well as his replacement by Stas Misezhnikov. The House Committee has 25 members, of whom 16 belong to the coalition. The three House Committee members from Shas vow to vote against the proposal, and Shelly Yachimovich of Labor has too.

However, Labor is expected to toss Yachimovich of  the committee, because of her position in support of Litzman, and to replace her with somebody who would support the party line on the matter.

Litzman has asked to address the House Committee and explain his grounds for opposing his own ouster. He argues that the sole reason for it is the cabinet?s refusal of his demand to earmark NIS 1.5 billion to increase child allowances for households with four children or more. That move alone would lift multitudes of children above the poverty line, he argues.