Rafi Peretz
Rafi Peretz צילום: דוברות הכנסת - עדינה ולמן

A second government watchdog group has joined calls for Jerusalem Affairs Minister Rafi Peretz (Yamina) to resign from the government, citing his failure to formally break away from his party and establish an independent Knesset faction, as required by law.

On Wednesday, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel called on the Knesset’s House Committee to declare Peretz a rogue MK, a move which would prevent him from continuing to serve in the government.

“Due to Minister Rafi Peretz’s behavior ever since he joined the coalition and voted against the position of the Yamina party, the Knesset House Committee must designate MK Peretz as an MK who broke away from his faction without following due process, effectively doing so against the trust placed in him by the public,” The Movement for Quality Government said in a statement.

Furthermore, the group said, citing Israel’s Basic Law: The Government: “’A Knesset member seceding from his faction and failing to tender his resignation as a Knesset member may not be appointed as a Minister during the period of service of that Knesset.’ Based on that, Minister Peretz is obliged to resign from his position as a minister for the remainder of the 23rd Knesset.”

In addition, if he is designated as a rogue MK, Peretz would be barred from running for the Knesset in the next election with an established party that currently enjoys Knesset representation.

Earlier this week, the Mishmar HaDemocratia HaYisraelit (Israel Democracy Watch) 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.

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.

Following the complaints, Peretz has filed for a formal separation of the Jewish Home party from Yamina.