Bezalel Smotrich, chairman of the National Union Party and co-leader of the Rightwing Union Knesset faction, which is believed to have won 5 seats in the 21st Knesset , declared on Wednesday that he would use the Norwegian law to make sure to include Otzma Yehudit member Itamar Ben-Gvir in his Knesset slate.
Otzma Yehudit chairman Michael Ben-Ari was disqualified by the Supreme Court, which overturned a Knesset election committee ruling. Ben-Ari had been placed in the fifth spot on the Rightwing Union slate, and after being ousted, he was replaced by Idit Salman, who moved up one spot. This moved Ben-Gvir, the next Otzma candidate, to seventh place.
The Supreme Court denied Ben-Gvir’s appeal to replace his party’s ousted member in fifth place, which, according to Tuesday’s results, means that Otzma, despite its members’ hard work for the campaign, would have no representation in the 21st Knesset.
Smotrich responded to this injustice by vowing: “Let me make it clear that I am committed to an agreement that was signed with Otzma regarding the enactment and implementation of the Norwegian law, which will bring Itamar Ben-Gvir to the Knesset, and I intend to insist on Netanyahu’s parallel commitment to this. The High Court will not win this election.”
The “Norwegian Law” is actually part of the Norwegian constitution, which orders that a member of parliament who is appointed government minister must retire from the parliament, to be replaced by the next person on his party’s list. It remains to be seen whether the Israeli version would require mandatory retirement or leave it up to the party’s leadership; also will the Israeli version leave the substitution up to the leadership or demand that only the next in line on the list goes in.