On Tuesday, the coalition was trying to figure out its next moves after it was unable to get enough votes for passing a key piece of legislation in the Knesset on Monday evening. This was because two of its own MKs decided to vote against the bill in question. The legislation was defeated and it puts an-already fragile government at risk. This law has been in effect in Israel since 1967 and needs to be renewed after every five years. It is set to expire at the end of this month and its renewal is important because it ensures that Israelis living in the West Bank have subjected to the civil and criminal law of Israel and not the military law.
Head of the right-wing New Hope party, Gideon Sa’ar had called this vote a test for the government and would help determine how long the coalition could survive after having lost its majority in the parliament. The bill sank with 52 in favor and 58 against it. Three members of the Islamist Ra’am party, who are part of the coalition, were absent from the plenum, as was the former whip IditSilman of the Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party.
Two members of the coalition, one of the Meretz party and one of Ra’am chose to vote against the bill. Another blow was waiting for the coalition when Silman decided to vote against them for reinstating MK MatanaKahana, another member of the Yamina party, as the religious affairs minister. Silman had resigned from the coalition back in April, but it was the first time that she actively voted against it. According to reports, the coalition was considering dismissing Silman from the position of the head of the Health Committee. But, they did not have any immediate plans of terming her as a defector.
Nonetheless, this did not stop Kahana from speaking out against Silman. He said that she had proven that she was no longer part of the Yamina party and she would have to face the consequences. He said that whether he was the deputy minister, or religious affairs minister was not important. It is the stability of the government that matters. Reports also said that the New Hope party of the Justice Minister would convene on Tuesday for deciding their role in the coalition. Meanwhile, Rinawie and Ghanaim, the two MKs of the coalition who voted against the bill, are under pressure to resign.
The coalition wants to replace them with two other MKs who would vote in favor of the bill. It is possible for them to present the legislation every week before the deadline passes on June 30th. If the government falls before then, the legislation will be extended automatically until a new government vote son it. On Tuesday morning, YairLapid said that it is best for people to leave the coalition if they cannot commit to it and to stop playing both sides. Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, who is the head of Meretz, said that it was essential to prevent Benjamin Netanyahu from returning to the government.