Israel’s Supreme Court Orders Knesset Speaker To Reconvene Parliament And Schedule Vote On His Replacement


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein must reconvene the parliament and schedule a vote on naming his replacement, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The decision by an extended five-judge panel gives Edelstein until Wednesday to schedule the vote. He was expected to respond to the Supreme Court directive later Monday evening.

Edelstein, who has served as speaker since 2013, adjourned the Knesset last Wednesday moments after it began meeting, citing the need for talks on a unity government. Critics called the action undemocratic.

On Monday, Edelstein opened a Knesset session for a vote on forming the Arrangements Committee, which oversees the formation and operation of the parliament. The Arrangements Committee is necessary to replace the speaker.

The Supreme Court lawsuit was filed by the Blue and White party headed by Benny Gantz, who was tapped earlier this month by President Reuven Rivlin to form a coalition government.

Gantz, with a majority of parliamentarians supporting him, plans to choose a new speaker and then pass legislation that would prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from returning to his post if the country goes to a fourth election.

Edelstein said the election of a new speaker could harm the chances for forming a new unity government. Meanwhile, his Likud party, to which Netanyahu also belongs, threatened to halt coalition talks if Edelstein is replaced.