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Netanyahu loses key vote inside Likud faction

CM 03/08/2021

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Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s candidate for the judicial selection committee lost in a secret-ballot vote in the Likud faction on Monday, in what has been interpreted as a vote of no confidence in his leadership.
Netanyahu ran MK Keren Barak for a slot on the committee, which is set to choose six Supreme Court judges over the next four years and dozens of lower-level judges. But the Likud MKs voted 18 to 11 in favor of MK Orly Levy-Abecassis. 
Levy-Abecassis was seen as the candidate of the head of the Likud central committee, Haim Katz. Likud officials denied that the vote had anything to do with Netanyahu.

“There were two excellent candidates, and no one was connected to anyone,” Likud MK Israel Katz told KAN Radio on Tuesday morning.   
The Knesset will be voting on Wednesday for its two representatives on the committee. Traditionally, one is chosen from the coalition and one from the opposition. The coalition will field only one candidate, Efrat Rayten of Labor. 
Levy-Abecassis is set to run not only against Rayten but also against Joint List MK Osama Saadi and three candidates from the Religious Zionist Party in MKs Simcha Rothman, Orit Struck and Itamar Ben-Gvir. Attempts will be made within the Religious Zionist Party to unite behind one candidate who could be chosen by MKs in Wednesday’s vote. 
The winners will join ministers Gideon Sa’ar (New Hope) and Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) on the committee, along with representatives of the Supreme Court and the Bar Association. 
The Knesset will also vote for its representatives on the selection committees for Jewish, Muslim and Druze religious courts. 
The candidates running for the two slots on the Jewish court selection committee are Moshe Arbel (Shas), Michal Woldinger (Religious Zionist Party), Shirley Pinto (Yamina) and Gila Gamliel (Likud). The winner will join ministers Matan Kahana (Yamina) and Ze’ev Elkin (New Hope) on the committee. 
For the Muslim court, MKs Mansour Abbas (Ra’am) and Saadi (Joint List) will be chosen. The Knesset will choose the final member of the court between MKs Yoav Bentzur (Shas) and Nir Orbach (Yamina).
For the Druze court selection committee, the Knesset will choose two MKs among Fateen Mulla (Likud), Mofid Mari (Blue and White) and Ali Salalha (Meretz).  
Meanwhile, the Knesset House Committee completed the process of shutting down cabinet ministries formed by previous governments. In a vote on Wednesday, the Strategic Affairs, Water, Community Advancement and Digital ministries were merged inside other ministries.
“This will save money and bureaucracy,” Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) wrote on Twitter. “The government is still too large, but those who have patience realize that it is already doing great things.” 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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