Knesset Panel Recommends Dismissal of Finance Committee Chair

Coalition seeks to replace current chairman Yakov Litzman with MK Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beiteinu).

The Knesset House Committee on Monday recommended to the Knesset Finance Committee to remove MK Yakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) from his position as committee chairman.

Members of Shas voted with the opposition against the Knesset House Committee decision.

Last week, the coalition failed to garner a majority to replace Litzman when the Pensioners Party refused to back the move, forcing the Knesset House Committee to remove from its Tuesday agenda a vote on the matter.

The House Committee's recommendation forces Litzman to bring the matter to a vote before the panel of which he is still chairman.

Should Litzman be dismissed, the coalition will likely appoint MK Stas Misezhnikov of Yisrael Beiteinu as his replacement.

Considering the current makeup of the committee, objections by several coalition MKs must be smoothed over, including MKs Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) and MK David Tal (Kadima). MK Orit Noked (Labor) has already declared she will abstain during the vote.

The appointment of Misezhnikov would facilitate a round of ministerial appointments, including naming MK Yitzhak Aharonovitc (Yisrael Beiteinu) tourism minister and Labor MKs Yitzhak Herzog and Raleg Majadele as welfare minister and science, culture and sports minister respectively.

Litzman expressed his dissatisfaction with the move last Tuesday, informing coalition chairman MK Avigdor Yitzhaki (Kadima) that he would not resign voluntarily. The committee chairman told Yitzhaki he intends to ensure that "no ultra-Orthodox would vote for Kadima in the next elections."

Yitzhaki said last weekend that, "I've asked Litzman to step down voluntarily and in a dignified manner, but he decided against it, thereby spurring the process of dismissal."