Israeli Supreme Court Orders Likud Speaker to Reconvene Knesset, Relinquish Power to Blue and White
NOTE: Middle East Eye published my latest piece on the Likud’s soft coup preventing the Opposition Blue and White taking control of government after its election victory. I’m grateful if you’d give this piece visibility by reading and promoting it on Facebook and Twitter.
Israel’s de facto governing Blue and White coalition has been prevented from taking control of the government by a rearguard defensive action by the departing Likud. Knesset Speaker, Yuli Edelstein initially refused to permit a key committee to meet in order to establish the legislative order of business. Then he adjourned Knesset so it could not vote on replacing him with its own chosen Speaker and appointing a new prime minister. Finally, when the Knesset Intelligence committee refused to give the Shabak power to use geolocation and private citizens’ data to track and quarantine Covid-19 victims and those in social contact with them, outgoing PM Netanyahu bypassed the legislative body entirely and approved the draconian project using executive authority.
Today, the Knesset convened and named the members of new committees. As the Likud knew it would be on the short end of the stick, it boycotted the votes. It’s motto appears to be: if it can’t be us running the show, it won’t be anybody.
Now the centrist bloc which will take power has to fight the Likud tooth and nail to wrest control of the legislative and ministerial process. The Court, though appointed by Likud and filled with conservative justices, has so far recognized the troubling precedent of usurping political precedent. It has ruled against Likud twice. First, it ruled that the Knesset must meet to review and approve the Shabak’s exposure of the citizen database. If it does not, the Court ruled the operation may not go forward.
Second, and most important (so far), the Court asked Edelstein whether he planned to reconvene the Knesset in order to vote on who would be the next Speaker. When he answered emphatically, NO, the Court directed him to convene the plenum this Wednesday. In its ruling, the Court rebuked him for “undermining democracy.” At that time, the body would vote on a replacement and presumably name Gantz as PM.
It’s unclear whether Edelstein would comply. He has argued that the Court, though it is the highest judicial body in the land, has no right to interfere in the affairs of the legislative branch. This is a classic, fundamental clash of power. The problem is that the judiciary has always been the weaker branch in the Israeli governmental system. There is no accepted consensus on the issue of judicial review of executive and legislative actions. At times, they have obeyed judicial rulings and at other times ignored them. Will Edelstein bow to the Court? Or will he and his Likud colleagues defy it, setting up an even more divisive clash?
Though it’s unclear what Edelstein will do, there is a slowly growing popular movement demanding the new Knesset be seated and a new government be sworn in. It is possible that the Likud will finally relinquish its hold on power. Though the impetus to resist will be intense since a new government will almost surely pass one or more laws which will render Netanyahu ineligible for returning to the premiership.
6 thoughts on “Israeli Supreme Court Orders Likud Speaker to Reconvene Knesset, Relinquish Power to Blue and White – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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So if Edelstein does bow to the court and a new Knesset is sworn in, will the new coalition include the Joint List?
@ Walter Ballin: Not formally. Joint List would support it from outside the coalition in all likelihood, making this a minority (and hence fairly weak) government.
Do you know anything about Israeli law???
“Israel’s de facto governing Blue and White coalition” – Gantz, to whom I have voted, does not have 61 MK that will vote for him. He does not have coalition agreement with any of the other parties.
“At that time, the body would vote on a replacement and presumably name Gantz as PM.” – Where does that come from? What are you taking about? BW does not have a coalition yet.
@ Carmel Yativ:
Do you know anything about Latin terms common in the English language?? Clearly not. De facto–look it up. It means that there is “in effect” a coalition. It does not mean that in actual fact there is yet such a coalition. Further, there is a center-right bloc of 61 votes. Eventually, they will form a coalition and make Gantz PM. Or there will be a fourth election.
I have no idea who you voted for and certainly wouldn’t take your word for anything. You clearly want a unity government rather than a minority one (an option I deliberately omitted above). You’re clearly siding with Hendel and Hauser, who hate “Arabs.” So your disdain for me is repaid in kind.
But there is no coalition not in effect and not even in theory. There might be a blocking block but even that is not agreed between the different parties.
It is amazing you tell me who I voted for or not. Seems like you believe your will can change facts. This is why you omitted the unity government as if your wishes can change the reality.
Yes, I do want a unity government which will be stable. Leave out the far right and far left and maybe even Lieberman. This is the only road to stability here. You live in your la-la-land with absolute ideals that do not take reality into consideration, just like many other leftists.
@ Carmel yativ: Please don’t make me repeat myself. As I replied to another commenter who made precisely the same claims as you, there IS a center-right bloc. It will form a governing coalition and vote for a new Speaker. I don’t care whether you call it a “coalition” or your father’s Oldsmobile. It’s a de facto coalition functioning as a government. And no thanks to your pals in the Likud.
A unity government would be no more stable than a minority government. As soon as one party or the other disapproves of what the other is proposing, it will tear apart. Not to mention that such a monstrosity will have no common platform and thus continue the suffocating stasis that has prevailed over the past few decades. “Stability” is a nostrum. There is no value in it in a toxic society like Israel’s.
I don’t have “absolute ideals.” I have values. You have none. Unless you wish to call suffocation a value.