Netanyahu, Lapid Close Deal on Knesset Committee Chairmanship

YERUSHALAYIM -
MKs Yariv Levin (R) and Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin (L) have been designated rotating chairmen of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. (Flash90)
MKs Yariv Levin (R) and Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin (L) have been designated rotating chairmen of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. (Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid finally reached an agreement on Monday on filling the chairmanship of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which has been vacant for over six months due to their dispute in the matter.

The prestigious committee will be chaired in rotation by two Likud MKs, Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin and Coalition chairman Yariv Levin.

In return, Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, who was Lapid’s choice for the coveted chairmanship, will be made a deputy minister, although sources close to Shelah said Monday that he would refuse the appointment.

The position, previously filled by Avigdor Lieberman, remained empty after he retook the office of foreign minister following his acquittal on corruption charges in November.

The compromise must still be approved by the House Committee.

Under the agreement, Elkin will serve as the chairman of the committee first, until January 1, 2015. Levin will then take over until June 1, 2016. Elkin will then take up the reins of the committee once again until 2017.

Levin will continue to serve as coalition chairman until November, while also chairing the Knesset House Committee.

Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi, reportedly Netanyahu’s first choice for the chairmanship, is expected to fill Elkin’s position as deputy foreign minister.