Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein resigns, attacks court

Yuli Edelstein  / Photo: Knesset Spokesperson Adina Walman , דוברות הכנסת

Edelstein stepped down in the interests of national unity but insisted that the Supreme Court's ruling that he should quit was anti-democratic.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein opened the Knesset session today by announcing his resignation. Edelstein came under heavy criticism on Monday night from the five Supreme Court justices for refusing to put the election of a new Knesset speaker on the agenda under the guise of various political excuses about the need for a national unity government to be formed.

In their ruling, the Supreme Court justices said that Edelstein's conduct was undermining the foundations of democracy and that there was no way to stop the desire of 61 MKs to express the desire of the voters.

In the wake of the ruling, Edelstein attempted to portray the Supreme Court as trying to create a putsch. He received the backing of several government ministers and even the prime minister who thought he should ignore the court's instructions.

At the start of the Knesset plenary session today Edelstein said, "On Monday the Supreme Court ruled that the Knesset Speaker must call a vote this week on the election of a Speaker for the new Knesset. The Supreme Court's decision is not based on law but on a one-sided and extreme interpretation.

After continuing to attack the Supreme Court, Edelstein likened himself to Menachem Begin who sought to avoid a civil war in 1948 despite the sinking of the Altalena.

Edelstein said, "In these days when the virus is endangering us externally and we are riven apart from within, we must behave with humanity and raise ourselves up. We must all unite. So for the sake of the State of Israel and to renew the spirit of statehood - I resign from my position as Knesset Speaker. We will pray and strive for better days."

The Knesset will be left without a Speaker for a week until it convenes next week to elect a new one.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 25, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Yuli Edelstein  / Photo: Knesset Spokesperson Adina Walman , דוברות הכנסת
Yuli Edelstein / Photo: Knesset Spokesperson Adina Walman , דוברות הכנסת
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