IDI Statement to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein: Convene the Knesset Plenum without delay; failure to do so blatantly exceeds the bounds of your office and constitutes an unacceptable disregard for basic rules of democracy.
(Jerusalem – March 19, 2020) The management of the Israel Democracy Institute, President Yohanan Plesner and Vice-Presidents Prof. Yuval Shany and Prof. Karnit Flug sent an urgent letter of complaint to Speaker of the Knesset, MK Yuli Edelstein.
In the letter the three stated: “We are following with grave concern your decision yesterday (March 18th) not to allow the Knesset Arrangement Committee to be formed. The outcome of this decision is that at this critical period – during which Israel is in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis that has dramatically affected all areas of life including the public health and safety, personal freedom and the economy – the most important democratic institution in our country, the Knesset, is effectively incapacitated.
Contrary to both law and tradition, since the new Knesset has convened, a new Speaker of the House has not yet been elected and the parliamentary committees have yet to begin to function. In addition, severe public health restriction, beyond those required from the Knesset by the Ministry of Health, have been put into place impeding the Knesset’s ability to function.”
IDI management added: “We view your recent decisions not to enable a vote to appoint a new Speaker of the House or to form the Knesset Arrangements Committee, in direct opposition of the explicit wishes of the Knesset majority (61 MKs), as a move that blatantly exceeds the bounds of your office and the duty of trust attached to your position. It constitutes an unacceptable disregard for basic rules of democracy. We call on you to convene the Knesset plenary without delay, so that it can vote on a new Speaker of the Knesset, authorize the establishment of the Knesset Arrangements Committee and allow the legislative branch of our democracy to function properly. This is what is both proper and necessary for the vital interests of all Israelis.”