Proposal to Form Committee to Probe Judges’ Conflicts of Interest Falls

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of the empty courtroom at the High Court in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A proposal to form a Knesset committee to investigate judges’ alleged conflicts of interest was voted down in a Knesset plenum vote, Wednesday afternoon.

43 MKs voted in favor of Yamina MK Betzalel Smotrich’s proposal, while 54 MKs voted against.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was not present for the vote, despite his party’s backing for it, as were other Likud MKs, including Ministers Yisrael Katz, Chaim Katz, Miri Regev, Yuli Edelstein, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, MK David Bitan, Nir Barkat and others. Minister Amir Ohana was not present as he is in quarantine.

Defense Ministry Benny Gantz, whose Blue and White party strongly opposed the proposal, was also not present as he is also in quarantine.

UTJ MKs and Shas MKs voted in favor of the proposal

Earlier, in a dramatic turnaround, coalition chairman MK Mickey Zohar (Likud) said that the Likud will vote in favor of the proposal.

This brought an immediate reply of the Blue and White party, who wrote in a statement that “if the Likud votes in favor of establishing an investigative committee, it means going to new elections. You can’t run a country like this.”

Sources in Blue and White released a threat towards Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Daphne Liel of Channel 12 quoted: “If the Likud votes in favor of the formation of a judicial inquiry committee, we will vote in favor of a submarine investigative committee.”

The Likud announcement came hours after reports said the coalition would oppose the formation of the committee and that MKs in the Likud would be required to vote against it.