Coalition set to vote down Judicial Selection Committee candidates

Traditionally, one coalition candidate and one opposition candidate are chosen to fill the two seats reserved for Knesset members in the forum.

By JNS

In a dramatic turn of events on Wednesday, Israel’s governing coalition was set to vote down one or both Knesset candidates for the Judicial Selection Committee.

The nine-member panel is responsible for appointing judges at all levels of Israel’s civil court system.

Traditionally, one coalition candidate and one opposition candidate are chosen to fill the two seats reserved for lawmakers in the forum.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly favors maintaining the status quo, fearing that submitting two coalition candidates, as some coalition partners demanded, would undermine judicial reform talks and reignite mass protests.

In March, Netanyahu froze reform legislation, faced with social unrest and a surprise press conference by his own defense minister, who warned the widening societal rift was a “clear, immediate and tangible threat to Israel’s security.”

The opposition had selected as its candidate Yesh Atid MK Karine Elharrar.

Netanyahu had ordered the numerous coalition members vying for the position to withdraw their candidacy altogether in a bid to delay the vote, and they did so with the exception of Likud MK Tali Gottlieb, who insisted on remaining on the ballot.

Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Netanyahu said, “We need to reorganize and rethink. Everyone needs to be committed to coalition discipline. There is no possibility of playing around with that. It is not possible that everyone can do whatever they want.”

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Opposition leader Yair Lapid accused Netanyahu of “crushing Israeli democracy, the economy, security and the unity of the people. He broke his commitment to the president and is causing the talks to end.”

National Unity Party leader Benny Gantz also said that his party would quit the ongoing reform negotiations being conducted under the auspices of President Isaac Herzog.

Protest organizers threatened to send thousands into the streets on Wednesday if an opposition candidate wasn’t chosen.