Supreme Court determines:
Amir Peretz will be appointed Interim Knesset Speaker

Amir Peretz, the most senior Knesset Member, will convene the Knesset on Thursday to elect a permanent Knesset Speaker.

Elad Benari ,

Amir Peretz
Amir Peretz
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

The Supreme Court on Wednesday night accepted the petition filed by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel and ruled that Amir Peretz, the most senior Knesset Member, will be appointed Interim Knesset Speaker in order to elect a new Speaker for the 23rd Knesset.

In light of the decision, Peretz will serve as Knesset Speaker at the same time as Yuli Edelstein, who announced his resignation earlier on Wednesday.

Peretz is expected to convene the Knesset on Thursday to vote on the identity of the new Knesset Speaker. MK Meir Cohen of Blue and White is expected to win the support of the left-wing and Arab parties and be elected to the position by a majority of more than 60 votes.

The judges used harsh words against Edelstein, writing, "It has never happened in the history of the state that a government official openly refused to uphold a judicial order by saying his conscience did not allow it. The harm done by his behavior to the public interest in securing the rule of law and in upholding judgments and court orders – there is no limit to its severity."

MK Miki Zohar (Likud) criticized the ruling and said, "The Supreme Court, together with the entire legal system, are working full time in the service of the left and the media. Here you have another shameful decision by the Supreme Court, it is not for nothing that the public's trust in this institution is ending minute by minute.”

"The Overrule Clause is more important than ever, we have reached the moment when the people must decide between the public and their elected officials and the legal junta," Zohar stressed.

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich was also critical of the Court’s ruling, saying, "The nature of arrogance that it returns like a boomerang. Over time, the Knesset will not remain indifferent to the Supreme Court's gross interference in its affairs and it will put an end to it. There seems to be no one in the right-wing camp who does not understand today, courtesy of the Supreme Court, that this must happen, and quickly."

The Movement for Quality Government welcomed the Supreme Court's ruling and said, “The Court did well to preserve the honor of the Knesset on the day in which the Speaker of the Knesset humiliated it in his conduct. The Movement for Quality Government hopes that these black days will serve as a warning sign in the Chronicles of the State of Israel."

On Wednesday evening, President Reuven Rivlin criticized Edelstein over his decision to resign from the Knesset so as not to hold a vote in the Knesset on the election of a new Knesset Speaker, as the Supreme Court had demanded earlier this week.

“Even if someone is of the opinion that the court is wrong in its conduct, whatever the disagreement between us, we must always ensure that the rules of democracy, without which we are destroyed, are upheld. Now that the Speaker of the Knesset has resigned, I am sure that the order of the High Court of Justice will be implemented and Israeli democracy will emerge strengthened and more resilient from these testing times,” he said.