The Knesset on Monday, 19 Tammuz, is expected to bring the new draft law to a first vote. There are conflicting reports if the Yahadut Hatorah MKs will vote against it or just abstain. If the vote passes, it will then be given over to the special ministerial committee, which will make changes in the law before it is voted upon in a second and third/final reading.
According to the daily Hamodia, which is affiliated with Gerre Chassidus, hence Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman, he will vote against the law in line with instructions from the Moetzas Gedolei Torah of Agudas Yisrael.
However, the notice contains in the newspaper contains slight nuances, and it remains unclear exactly how Litzman and others will vote despite Litzman’s earlier statements.
Yated Ne’eman, the newspaper affiliated with Degel Hatorah is slightly softened and declares that MKs “will not support” the law in its present form. In the newspaper, it has not yet been written clearly that the they will oppose the law in the first reading, and in Degel Hatorah leaves a vague opening for abstention.
In truth, abstaining or opposing, it is simply a mask for the chareidi parties, to permit the chareidi MKs to face constituents and tell it how they wish to be perceived. In actuality, the bill does not become law until voted in for a third reading, which will not take place until after the ministerial committee makes changes, and then passes it in a second reading. The third vote is the final one which passes it into law.
However, the fear is that if the bill is not passed in the first reading, the Agudas Yisrael faction faces a dilemma, for it threatened if the bill is not advanced in the summer session, they will break from the coalition.
The chareidim are aware that causing early elections will most likely result in a less chareidi-friendly coalition, so they are walking the fence in this case, seeking to save face if possible. In addition, if the coalition breaks and early elections are called, the incoming coalition is less likely to legislate a draft law as considerate to the chareidim as the current legislation.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)