Shasha-Biton Defeats Likud in Deserter Charge

YERUSHALAYIM -
Ayoub Kara, sworn in as a Likud member of Knesset on Monday. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

MK Yifat Shasha-Biton has won another victory over the Likud party.

Shasha-Biton, who successfully opposed her own party’s lockdown policies as chairwoman of the Knesset coronavirus committee, on Monday won a fight against being branded a “deserter” from Likud after she defected to Gideon Saar’s New Hope Party, according to media reports.

Had Likud succeeded in the attempt to have the Knesset House Committee label her a deserter, it would have meant that New Hope would be denied public campaign funds that Shasha-Biton would otherwise be entitled to on behalf of her new political home. As Israeli political parties are apportioned funds on the basis of the number of MKs elected in the previous election, Saar’s new party is especially in need of those funds.

Shasha-Biton entered the Knesset with former finance minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu Party. She was given a slot on the Likud list as part of a merger agreement between Likud and Kulanu.

She claimed that her agreement with Likud was only for the current term, which expired with the dissolution of the Knesset last week.

House Committee chairman Eitan Ginzburg, faction chairman of Blue and White, supported Shasha-Biton, saying that during an election campaign MKs have the right to change parties. Likud withdrew its complaint when it became clear that it would not have enough votes to carry the sanction.

Meanwhile, the Likud inducted three new MKs on Monday to replace those who have since left the party.

Shevah Stern, Ayoub Kara and Moti Yogev were sworn in to fill the seats of Zeev Elkin, Michal Shir and Sharren Haskel, who quit the Knesset to run with New Hope.

Stern acknowledged that he bought a suit for the event, the first time since his wedding nearly 40 years ago.