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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

(JNS) Longtime Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein resigned his post this week rather than implement a ruling by Israel’s High Court that the parliament must hold a vote to appoint a new speaker.

Addressing the Knesset in announcing his resignation, the Likud party member stated, “The Supreme Court of Justice decided that the Knesset Speaker must hold a vote this week to choose a new Knesset Speaker. The Supreme Court’s decision is not based on how the law is worded, but on a one-sided and extremist interpretation.”

The ruling was handed down following a petition by the Blue and White Party demanding that Edelstein be forced to call a vote, even though it has yet to form a formal parliamentary majority. However, while the 62 Knesset members—including the 15 members of the Joint List—who oppose Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s continued premiership are currently unable to form a coalition, they would have voted against Edelstein, a strong Netanyahu ally, in the vote for a new speaker.

“The Supreme Court’s decision contradicts the Knesset protocol,” said Edelstein.

Calling for a unity government, he added, “Knesset members, citizens of Israel, right now our nation needs unity, needs a unity government. In these days, when there is a plague that is endangering us from the outside, and divisions which tear us apart from the inside, we must all act with integrity, we must all strive to be better. We must all unite. Therefore, for the sake of the State of Israel, and in order to renew the national spirit in Israel, I hereby resign from my position as Knesset Speaker.”

A new vote for speaker will now be held next week.