Coalition talks stall over appointment of judges

With only hours until a midnight deadline, squabble over judicial appointments may torpedo coalition talks.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Negotiations to form a coalition government that would oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to hit a roadblock Wednesday morning as two key coalition partners argued over judicial appointments.

Although most of the outstanding issues have already been resolved including appointments to key cabinet positions, a demand by the right-wing Yemina party to have a seat on the committee for judicial appointments may torpedo the new government before it can take off.

The leader of the center-left Yesh Atid [There is a Future] party, Yair Lapid, has until midnight on Wednesday to present his new coalition government that needs at least 61 seats in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset.

Lapid and Yemina leader Naftali Bennett appear to have agreed on most points including a shared rotation as prime minister with Bennett serving first.

However, Bennett’s second in command, former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, is demanding the seat on the judges committee that has already been promised to Labor oarty leader Merav Michaeli.

Shaked said she would not add her vote in support of the new coalition if her demands are not met, Ynet reported.

Senior Labor member Amar Bar-Lev said unequivocally that Michaeli does not intend to hand her committee seat to Shaked, who has previously called for major reform to allow more right-wing control over the appointment of judges.

“Ayelet Shaked’s demand is forceful and predatory, and if that is what will lead the next government, her chances of surviving will be low,” MK Bar-Lev said in an interview in the Knesset as part of the Ynet studio broadcast.

expressed in a Ynet studio broadcast a firm reservation on Ayelet Shaked’s demand for a seat on the Judicial Selection Committee: “We agreed with Yesh Atid To lead the next government – its chances of survival are low ”

The negotiating teams of the “Government of Change” parties continue to discuss the recent agreements that remain to close all the ends of the formation of the unity coalition of Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett.
Lapid’s mandate will end tonight at midnight, and by then he must declare to President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin that he has managed to form a government.

Shaked, who is slated to be interior minister, still insists on her place on the judicial selection committee and presents this as an ultimatum to form a government.
“There is no debate for us,” said MK Bar-Lev.
“There is an agreement between the Labor Party and Yesh Atid that Merav Michaeli is the government’s representative on this committee and there is no room to open this issue.
More than that, our initial demand was the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Justice and Merav Michaeli gave up.

“After that, there was a demand from the chairmanship of the Constitution Committee and we gave up. Therefore, Israeli law is a critical issue.
Beyond that, there is something important – it is not a question of whether Merav will be a representative for the appointment of judges who will not have a ‘God forbid’ majority for the left.
Even so, it is a minority. That is why we need to keep what has been agreed and move forward. ”

– On the right they say this morning ‘they will want to take, they will not want they will not take’.
“Ayelet Shaked was born with this bag? I do not understand that.
This is simply a predatory and forceful demand, and if that is their motto in the next government – the chances of the government holding out are very low.
The agreement between us and Yesh Atid closed a week ago.
There is no point in repeating these things. The Labor Party and Merav Michaeli have given up very difficult concessions. ”

– Will not give up?
“There is no question of waiver here, it is an agreed matter.”
– There is a great fear on the right that this government will harm the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, perhaps enter into a political process of handing over territories.

“It makes me smile and even ridicule these statements.
We’re pretty much done, let’s move on with these incitements.
The government will work for the citizens of Israel, for 80% of the issues that are common to Israel and our wisdom is in it.
We will take care of it as we have done so far, so in those 20% of the issues that are being debated, we will all have to put them aside. ”

Negotiations for the formation of a government continued in the village of Maccabiah in Ramat Gan even at night, and it seems that the parties reached agreements on most of the material issues.
At around 05:30 in the morning, Zvi Hauser posted a new Facebook post in Tikva in which he wrote:
“Dawn of a new day.” At the same time, there is a future of Lapid and the blue and white of Bnei Gantz signed a coalition agreement. ”

While the coalition negotiations were taking place inside a Ramat Gan hotel, demonstrators protesting the emerging government stood outside carrying signs calling the Yamina party members “traitors” for joining the political camp that opposes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A similar demonstration was also held outside Shaked’s home. She and Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett were assigned a security detail on Sunday, after threats were made on social media accusing both of treason.