After delaying the opening of the Knesset until Monday, the body’s incumbent speaker, Yuli Edelstein, has refused to allow for a vote on who will occupy his position in the current legislative session. While his opponents have accused him of trying to prevent his own replacement, or of trying to protect Benjamin Netanyahu from unfavorable legislation, Edelstein claims he is making a principled stand to protect the ongoing coalition negotiations that will determine the next prime minister. The situation has come to a head with the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday that Edelstein must open the Knesset immediately. Raoul Wootliff and Michael Bachner explain:
Understanding the Current Showdown between the Speaker of the Knesset and the Supreme Court
Israel Has Dodged a Constitutional Crisis, but Only Temporarily
Two weeks ago, then-Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein refused to hold a vote for his replacement, insisting that, in keeping with precedent, the new speaker should only be chosen after a governing coalition has been formed. As his move prevented the newly installed Israeli parliament from resuming its normal business, the Supreme Court tried to break the impasse with two unprecedented interventions into the legislative branch. To Evelyn Gordon, Edelstein acted out of a “genuine and serious concern” about constitutionally questionable moves by his opponents, even if the court was justified in its order that elections for the new speaker take place.