Coalition Bid to Go Around Knesset Committee to Pass Urgent Bills

By Hamodia Staff

MK Nir Orbach chairing the Knesset House Committee, this week. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM – The Bennett-Lapid coalition is attempting to circumvent the Knesset committee chaired by Yamina rebel Nir Orbach in order to expedite passage of two bills—to disperse the Knesset ahead of elections, and to bar anyone indicted on a serious criminal offense from being prime minister, The Times of Israel reported on Thursday.

Concerned that Orbach will use his chairmanship of the House Committee, the usual path for such legislation, to delay it with an eye to giving the opposition time to form a new government within the existing Knesset, the coalition forces want to route it through the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, which they control. That committee commenced its own deliberations on the bills on Thursday.

The appropriate committee must report a bill to the plenum before any votes can be held. The coalition is hoping to bring the bills to a preliminary vote by Monday.

However, the Knesset legal adviser said that it is not clear that the latter committee has jurisdiction to consider the bills.

Furthermore, the legal adviser noted that “as long as the House Committee head is not delaying the legislation,” there would be no justification to bypass it.

“North Korea — the Israeli version,” Likud MK and opposition whip Yariv Levin tweeted on the coalition maneuver.

“Dictatorships are the only places where [the country] announces elections again a moment beforehand expel[ling] the head of the opposition…a black stain on the glorious history of the Knesset Law Committee,” he wrote.

Besides the two high-profile bills, there are 26 other pieces of legislation awaiting final reading, in particular, grant for small businesses that suffered losses during the Omicron coronavirus wave, which according to The Jerusalem Post the coalition is keen on passing as soon as possible.

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