Kahol Lavan Bill Would Allow Five Ministers to Quit Knesset and Make Way for New Lawmakers

Hoping to increase its representation in Knesset committees, Benny Gantz's party seeks to win over members of subparties that broke off and joined opposition, but preliminary vote set for Wednesday delayed

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Benny Gantz speaks in the Knesset ahead of the new government's swearing in on May 17, 2020.
Benny Gantz speaks in the Knesset ahead of the new government's swearing in on May 17, 2020.Credit: Adina Valman/Knesset Spokesperson's Office/AFP
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Kahol Lavan is set to present a new version of a bill to the Knesset that would allow five of the party’s ministers to resign their Knesset membership to make way for new lawmakers from the party to enter parliament.

A preliminary vote initially planned for Wednesday was delayed, as a Knesset panel to prepare to bill for a vote has yet to be set up.

Bibi swears in his colossal coalition and readies for a courtroom showdown Credit: Haaretz

If the bill passes, two new Knesset members from leader Benny Gantz’s original party, Hosen L’Yisrael (which became a part of Kahol Lavan) will be sworn in. In addition, three lawmakers from the two other subparties within Kahol Lavan – Yesh Atid and Telem – would also enter the Knesset. The latter parties broke away from Kahol Lavan and are now in the opposition, and Kahol Lavan hopes to win them over to the coalition.

Kahol Lavan held talks with Michal Cotler-Wunsh (Telem) and Tehila Friedman-Nachalon (Yesh Atid) as part of its efforts to replace a previous version of the bill, which would have skipped over representatives of the other parties on the former unified roster of candidates and gone directly to Hosen L’Yisrael representatives farther down the list. The previous version of the bill was set aside following criticism by the Supreme Court.

Friedman-Nachalon, who recently announced that she was leaving Yesh Atid in support of the unity government, refused to confirm the details. Sources in Kahol Lavan said that another candidate, Yorai Lahav Hertzanu, also of Yesh Atid, is expected to remain in that party.

Benny Gantz speaks at the podium in the Knesset during the swearing in ceremony for the new government on May 17, 2020.Credit: Adina Valman/Knesset Spokesperson's Office via AP

A version of this bill, dubbed the 'Norwegian law,' was passed by the Knesset before the three recent election campaigns. It allowed only one minister from each party to resign his or her Knesset membership to make way for another member of that party. The new bill allows five Kahol Lavan ministers to resign from the Knesset to allow other party members to join, but then it uses complicated rules for the number of ministers from other parties who can resign as lawmakers.

The bill proposes that the prime minister and the deputy prime minister cannot resign their Knesset membership, in keeping with the current custom that requires the prime minister to also be an MK. But according to the bill, if a party has more than 12 Knesset members – as both Likud and Kahol Lavan do – one-third of its Knesset representatives serving as ministers would be able to resign their Knesset membership.

Kahol Lavan ascribes great importance to the bill because only three of its lawmakers are not ministers – the remaining 12 lawmakers are – and can take part in Knesset committee meetings and in full Knesset sessions. If the bill passes, it will mean greater representation for Kahol Lavan lawmakers on the various committees.

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