On Saturday evening, activists of the Mertz party were found protesting outside the home of rebel Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi. They called on the left-wing party member to resign from her seat in the Knesset. This happened after the MK, along with another lawmaker in the coalition, helped in defeating a key piece of legislation. It ended up putting an already fragile government at even more risk.
Demand for Resignation
Rinawie Zoabi, along with MK Mazen Ghanaim of the Islamist Ra’am party, have found themselves under pressure because they voted with the opposition on the said bill. It was a renewal of the Israeli law that will apply to settlers in the West Bank. The three other Knesset members of the Ra’am party had decided to abstain from the voting.
The same had been done by rebel Yamina MK Idit Silman. Consequently, the voting on Monday saw the bill not able to get the required number of votes to pass. It ended at 58-52, which meant the law was not passed.
The protestors claimed in a statement that the actions of Zoabi could bring down the government. They said that they would end up with a ‘government of darkness’ that will comprise of Benjamin Netanyahu, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir. They were referring to the former prime minister and leader of the opposition’s Likud party and two far-right lawmakers also in the opposition.
There were several protestors who could be seen in Nof Hagalil, near the Meretz MK’s home. Before the protest, media reports had said that both Ra’am and Meretz parties had informed Bennett that they were not in control of their MKs. The two lawmakers had rejected the calls for resignation and have vowed to vote against the bill if it is brought for voting again. The report indicated that Zoabi had even been told by a few Arab mayors to resign from her seat.
Trouble for the Coalition
MK Idit Silman had resigned from the coalition back in April, which wiped out its majority in the Knesset. The government has been facing a tough situation since then. Last month, Rinawie Zoabi had also announced that she was leaving the coalition, but had decided to return after a couple of days. Nonetheless, she still chose to vote against the bill.
Many saw the failed bill as a test of how long the coalition could survive. This included Gideon Sa’ar, the Justice Minister, who had been leading the legislation in question. Zoabi said on Saturday that she was not going to give her resignation. She added that the Jewish politicians in the coalition want to use them and she wouldn’t led them. She said that it was Shaked and Silman who were bringing down the coalition.
Zoabi went on to say that when ministers had given their support for some right-wing legislation, they had broken from the status-quo. She said that Nir Orbach, the Yamina MK and Ayelet Shaked, the Interior Minister, were responsible for this situation. She also said that Sa’ar had threatened left-wing MKs for not voting against the bill.