MK Yariv Levin
MK Yariv LevinIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Likud party’s small size in the current Knesset has posed a challenge to its lawmaking efforts, MK Yariv Levin (Likud) admitted Thursday.

His statements came in the wake of tension between Likud-Beytenu and the Yesh Atid faction over the appointment of a new Chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The two factions have also been in disagreement over a bill brought by the latter party that would recognize same-sex marriage.

The Likud-Beytenu faction – a union of the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu parties – is unusually small for a ruling party with just 31 seats, Levin noted. Likud holds 20 of those seats, or one out of every six seats in Knesset.

“There is no precedent in Israel – maybe even worldwide – for a ruling party with one-sixth of the member of Parliament,” Levin said. Likud sought to obtain the public’s trust as a large party during the national elections, he noted, but did not receive that trust.

Levin argued that Likud is doing well despite the limitations posed by its small size. “The decisions the government reaches pass Knesset without problems. We haven’t lost a single vote,” he noted.

He denounced the Yesh Atid party’s attempts to get Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah appointed to head the influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, rather than Likud MK Tzahi Hanegbi.

“In all of Israeli history there has never been a situation where someone tried to tell the Prime Minister who to appoint to head the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee,” he said. “The Prime Minister is the one who appoints the Chairman, that’s how it has always been.”

He accused Yesh Atid of ignoring what had been decided in coalition negotiations.