Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee

Summary

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (Hebrew: ועדת חוץ וביטחון) is a permanent Knesset committee which oversees key Foreign and Defense issues of the State of Israel, including the drafting of legislation, supervision over related government ministries and the approval of their budgets. It is regarded as one of two most important Knesset committees (the other being the Finance Committee).

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, 1949

ActivityEdit

The majority of the committee's activity takes place in its subcommittees, while the committee as a whole largely serves as a media stage for top defense decision makers. The committee approves extensive subcommittee-drafted delegated legislation in areas of defense, emergency preparedness, emergency recruitment of human resources, Shabak special operations, allocation of emergency equipment, the deployment of the Home Front, and other security and intelligence related tasks. The committee is presented with summaries by the top decision makers in areas of foreign affairs, defense, and intelligence, including by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Affairs Minister, the Minister of Defense, and the heads of Mossad, Shabak, and Aman. The committee's chair, who reports on much of the country's defense activities, is considered one of the most senior figures in the Security Forces and subsequently, it is one of the most sought after positions in the Knesset. The committee's plenary sessions are secret and the meetings of some of its subcommittees are top secret. Consequently, its protocols remain largely unpublished. After repeated instances in which the contents of meetings were leaked, its members became obliged to sign a secrecy affidavit. The media has limited access to committee meetings (at selected occasions) and no access to that of its subcommittees. The government is obligated to bring to the approval of the committee various emergency activities, including ones related to or that are likely to result in war. The committee also undertakes personal hearings for key defense and State decision makers as well as hearings for appreciable defense projects.

During 2020, the Committee took an active role in shaping the legal framework authorizing Shabak to engage in location tracking of coronavirus carriers.[1] Eventually, the committee drafted "the Law on Authorization to Assist in the National Effort to Reduce the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus and to Promote the Use of Civilian Technology to Trace Those Who Have Been in Close Contact with Patients (Temporary Order), 5780-2020", which was enacted by the Knesset on July 21, 2020.[2] Under its provisions, the committee may veto a government declaration to use Shabak for coronavirus contact tracing.[3]

ChairmenEdit

Portrait Chairman Took office Left office Party Ref.
 
Argov, MeirMeir Argov
(1905–1963)
19491963 Mapai
 
Hacohen, DavidDavid Hacohen
(1898–1984)
19631969 Alignment
 
Zadok, Haim YosefHaim Yosef Zadok
(1913–2002)
19691974 Alignment
 
Navon, YitzhakYitzhak Navon
(1921–2015)
19741977 Alignment
 
Arens, MosheMoshe Arens
(1925–2019)
19771982 Likud
 
Ben-Elissar, EliyahuEliyahu Ben-Elissar
(1932–2000)
19821984 Likud
 
Eban, AbbaAbba Eban
(1915–2002)
19841988 Alignment
 
Ben-Elissar, EliyahuEliyahu Ben-Elissar
(1932–2000)
19891992 Likud
 
Orr, OriOri Orr
(born 1939)
19921995 Labor
 
Merom, HagaiHagai Meirom
(born 1946)
19951996 Labor
 
Landau, UziUzi Landau
(born 1943)
19961999 Likud
 
Meridor, DanDan Meridor
(born 1947)
19992001 Center Party (Israel)
 
Magen, DavidDavid Magen
(born 1945)
20012002 Likud
 
Ramon, HaimHaim Ramon
(born 1950)
20022003 Labor
 
Steinitz, YuvalYuval Steinitz
(born 1958)
20032006 Likud
 
Hanegbi, TzachiTzachi Hanegbi
(born 1957)
20062010 Kadima
 
Mofaz, ShaulShaul Mofaz
(born 1948)
20102012 Kadima
 
Bar-On, ROniRoni Bar-On
(born 1948)
20122013 Kadima
 
Lieberman, AvigdorAvigdor Lieberman
(born 1958)
20132013 Yisrael Beiteinu
 
Edelstein, YuliYuli Edelstein
(born 1958)
20132014 Likud
 
Elkin, Ze'evZe'ev Elkin
(born 1971)
20142015 Likud
 
Levin, YarivYariv Levin
(born 1969)
20152015 Likud
 
Hanegbi, TzachiTzachi Hanegbi
(born 1957)
20152016 Likud
 
Dichter, AviAvi Dichter
(born 1952)
20162019 Likud
 
Ashkenazi, GabiGabi Ashkenazi
(born 1954)
20192020 Blue and White
 
Hauser, ZviZvi Hauser
(born 1968)
20202021 Derekh Eretz (political faction)
 
Barbivai, OrnaOrna Barbivai
(born 1962)
20212021 Yesh Atid
 
Ben-Barak, RamRam Ben-Barak
(born 1958)
2021Incumbent Yesh Atid

SubcommitteesEdit

Overseen bodiesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Cahane, Amir (30 November 2020). "Israel's SIGINT Oversight Ecosystem: COVID-19 Secret Service Location Tracking as a Test Case". University of New Hampshire Law Review – via SSRN.
  2. ^ "Knesset passes bill authorizing Shin Bet to assist Health Ministry in epidemiological investigations until January 20, 2021" Knesset News (July 21,2020)
  3. ^ Law on Authorization to Assist in the National Effort to Reduce the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus and to Promote the Use of Civilian Technology to Trace Those Who Have Been in Close Contact with Patients (Temporary Order), 5780-2020, Section 3A (July 1, 2020)

External linksEdit

  • Official site