After a heated shouting match in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday morning, the Islamist Ra’am party’s controversial Electricity Law was passed, allowing tens of thousands of illegally constructed Arab homes in the Negev and Galil to be hooked up to electricity, water and other infrastructure lines.
Opposition MKs jeered Prime Minister Naftali Bennet and Yamina MK Nir Orbach, yelling “Shame on you” after they voted against a clause to include new Jewish settlements (“young settlements”) in the law. Orbach had threatened not to vote for the law if the clause for young settlements wasn’t included but ultimately did not carry out his threat due to coalition discipline.
In an unprecedented manner, Bennett got up from his seat and confronted opposition members in a face-to-face shouting match and attacked opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu for voting for the Gaza disengagement. Netanyahu turned his back and refused to engage in the debate. The confrontation ended when Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) and MK Abir Kara (Yamina) convinced Bennett to return to his seat.
The opposition members boycotted the debate after the coalition disregarded the recommendation of the Knesset legal adviser and shortened the filibusters on the issue from 94 to 15 hours.
After the passing of the bill, Bennett tweeted an image of the angry scenes, saying: “A bunch of thugs. I’m not afraid of you and I won’t let you burn down the country.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)