Bayit Yehudi leader Minister Naftali Bennett has been informed by seven faction members they will vote against the new draft law when it is presented for a second and final third reading in Knesset in its present format. Minister Uri Ariel, Deputy Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, MK Moti Yogev, MK Orit Struk, MK Nissim Slomiansky and MK Yoni Chetboun has all announced they cannot vote for the present bill.They explain the change they seek would empower the cabinet to determine each year, including the transition years, if the chareidi tzibur has reached its annual induction goal, and this may be done even if the expected number of chareidim was not inducted. In short, they want to empower the cabinet to decide if penal penalties against chareidim will be required or not, permitting the cabinet to declare the annual chareidi quote has been met.
How can this play out? Some options include:
For one thing, Bennett can push to accommodate their demands, but this is unlikely for it will precipitate a coalition crisis with Yesh Atid.
Bennett may impose party discipline and those faction members defying the party position in the vote will face the consequences, another unlikely scenario.
Permit faction members to vote their conscience, for in reality, the bill will pass in Knesset as Labor and The Movement parties will vote in favor.
This is similar to Prime Minister Netanyahu announcing his departure from the cabinet minutes before the vote on the Disengagement Plan. His announced came when the expulsion was a fait accompli, somewhat similar to the Bayit Yehudi faction members awakening at this late hour.
In a face-saving measure, the rebel faction will not oppose the law, but it will abstain, or more likely, the seven individuals will absent themselves from the vote.
Unfortunately, while some may be impressed with the steadfast opposition to the draft bill, at this stage, it is showmanship at best.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)