Coalition Torpedoed in Secret Ballot in Judge Selection

YERUSHALAYIM -
Shas MK Yitzchak Cohen was voted onto the committee that selects Israel’s High Court judges. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Shas MK Yitzchak Cohen was voted onto the committee that selects Israel’s High Court judges. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition suffered an embarrassing reversal as it failed to place a representative on the committee that selects High Court justices, in a secret ballot late Monday in the Knesset, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The ruling parties usually get one member on the committee, along with one from the opposition. But in this case, Likud-Beiteinu didn’t rule, as MKs Isaac Herzog (Labor) and Yitzchak Cohen (Shas) won out over the coalition’s candidate, Yisrael Beiteinu MK David Rotem.

The vote reflected tensions between Netanyahu and former Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, who lost his post when the former threw his support to Yisrael Beitienu’s Yuri Edelstein, the new speaker.

Rivlin actively campaigned to defeat Rotem, which was seen as an act of revenge, the Post said.

Cohen is considered to be Shas’s most leftwing MK. He recently wrote to Netanyahu urging him to respond favorably to the Arab League’s diplomatic initiative. His participation on the selection committee means that the judges to be selected to replace retiring justices Asher Grunis and Edna Arbel on the Court will likely be dovishly inclined.