Editorial

The End of Knesset Speaker Edelstein

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, January 12, 2020
Ohad Zwigenberg

By resigning as Knesset speaker and adjourning the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein succeeded in delaying the election of a permanent speaker, probably until the beginning of next week. This contravenes the High Court of Justice ruling that obligated him to permit a debate on the election of a new speaker by Wednesday evening. Although Knesset regulations stipulate that the resignations goes into effect only 48 hours after the resignation letter is submitted, Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon made it clear that, “if there’s no [court] order that enables us to hold this event and the Knesset speaker persists in his refusal to hold a vote, we do not have the tools with which to conduct it.”

Avi Nissenkorn, the chairman of the new Knesset Arrangements Committee, had already announced that Amir Peretz, as the longest serving Knesset member, would be the Knesset’s interim speaker from Friday at 11 A.M. until the vote for a new speaker, unless the High Court rules that Edelstein was in contempt or court and orders the vote to take place earlier.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 71Haaretz

Edelstein’s response to Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, who was hearing a petition by the Hozeh Hadash (“New Contract”) organization to order Edelstein to convene the Knesset under the Contempt of Court Ordinance, is a stellar example of cynicism. “I’m not interested in scorning the court,” he said. “Respect the order of my conscience. My replacement can do what you want in 48 hours.” How much cynicism it must take to ignore a court ruling, steal democracy from the majority and take the name of “conscience” in vain. To buy another 48 hours for his boss, Benjamin Netanyahu, Edelstein agreed to sell himself out.

Even before the constitutional mess he got us into is sorted out and without regard to the result, we can already state with certainty that Edelstein – who without a drop of shame or responsibility is grasping the corners of the altar while carrying a constitutional explosive belt on his person – is ineligible to serve in any public or state capacity in the future. His resignation and unfounded address ought to be his farewell to public life. Edelstein, the Knesset speaker who had his eyes on the presidency, who in the midst of a pandemic chose to sully his biography, trample on his own good name and his future for his status-seeking, criminally indicted boss, has become a symbol and living example of the corruption that winds up embroiling all Netanyahu’s loyal slaves .

Ministers Tzachi Hanegbi, Zeev Elkin and Gilad Erdan suddenly remembered on Wednesday to raise their voices to try to stop the vicious attempt to prevent the transfer of power over the parliament to the elected majority. But that’s not enough. All Likud members must awaken from the nightmare named Benjamin Netanyahu and stop their leader in his tracks. Otherwise in the blink of an eye, they, too, will become the symbols of a coup.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.