Rafi Peretz
Rafi Peretz צילום: נעם רבקין פנטון, פלאש 90

A watchdog group has raised doubts about the legality of Jerusalem Affairs Minister Rafi Peretz’s (Jewish Home) inclusion in the national unity government, arguing that the Jewish Home party chairman is serving as a government minister in violation of Israeli law.

The organization Mishmar HaDemocratia HaYisraelit (Israel Democracy Watch) has called on Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to intervene, asking him to instruct Peretz that he is not permitted to serve in the government as a minister.

The group claims that Peretz is unable to serve as a government minister, since his departure from the Yamina party was never formalized.

Peretz, who leads the Jewish Home faction, ran with Yamina’s two other factions – the National Union and the New Right – in the March election.

After the 23rd Knesset was sworn in, however, Peretz agreed to join the new unity government, despite Yamina remaining on the outside.

While Peretz's break with Yamina created a de facto split, he never formally broke away from the party, making him a rogue MK who, according to the Mishmar HaDemocratia HaYisraelit organization, should be penalized with parliamentary restrictions.

The group argued in its appeal to Mandelblit, that Peretz should not only be removed from his post as Jerusalem Affairs Minister, but should also be barred from running for the Knesset as part of any future party list.