Knesset Caught in Elections Crunch

The Knesset in Yerushalayim. (123rf)

The decision to call early elections has thrown the Knesset into a whirl of uncertainty, as a number of important pieces of legislation currently on the agenda may have to be pushed off until after elections.

Among the contentious issues pending are the chareidi draft law, relocation of terrorists’ families, accelerated legalization of outposts, and the so-called “Gideon Sa’ar bill” — to require a president to appoint only a party leader to form the next government, a device to preempt an alleged conspiracy to task former Education Minister Sa’ar with forming a new government in order to steal Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coming electoral victory.

However, Netanyahu said on Monday that even if the latter bill is left hanging, President Reuven Rivlin plans to stick to tradition and only designate the head of a party. Netanyahu is reportedly unconcerned.

If voting to disperse the Knesset goes forward on Wednesday, as planned, that leaves only one day — Tuesday — to pass these and other bills, each of which would entail a lengthy plenum debate on its own. If time runs out, they will be left for the next Knesset.

As the situation became apparent after Netanyahu’s announcement, Miki Zohar, Chairman of the Knesset House Committee threatened not to convene the committee to approve the dispersion of the Knesset before those important laws are passed.

“I welcome the agreements between the coalition and the opposition, but it is my duty to make it clear to the public and to Knesset members that the needs of the State of Israel precede the whims of the politicians, and therefore if a number of important laws which I will pass on to the coalition chairman and the opposition coordinator are not finished and voted on, I won’t be able to determine the time of the elections or advance the bill for dispersing the Knesset,” Zohar said on Monday.