The largest party in the Israeli Knesset, Likud, expedited a series of legal bills that are supported by right-wing parties on Tuesday in an effort to get them brought to the Knesset before the expiration of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s mandate to form a government. The cause for expediting the flurry of bills is the fear that Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid will receive the mandate and be able to form a heavily leaning left-wing government.
According to reports in the Israeli media, Likud has a more devious ulterior motive which would be to cause a rift between the left-wing Lapid and Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett, whose party, in theory, supports most of the bills. Should Bennett side with Lapid the two will likely be able to form a coalition together with support from at least one of the Arab parties.
During a hearing of the Knesset Arrangements Committee, the Yamina faction voted in favor of presenting the bills to the Knesset while waiving their 45-day waiting period, whereas the Yesh Atid faction opposed this.
Additionally, Likud is set to lose control over the powerful Arrangements Committee when they lose the mandate. Should the mandate be given to Yesh Atid, then their party will gain control of the committee, and likely put an end to all fast-tracking of pro-right-wing legislation.
The sweeping legislation, if given final approval, would change the nature of Israel’s legal and electoral system, as well as expand its footprint in Area C of the West Bank.
According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, these bills include legislation that would initiate direct elections for prime minister, cancel the 2005 Gaza Strip withdrawal, institute the death penalty for terrorists, prevent the entrance of migrant workers, add more judges to and enable the bypassing of the Supreme Court, legalize unauthorized West Bank outposts and cancel Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s rotation agreement with Netanyahu as prime minister.
The Arrangements Committee voted to fast-track a private members bill that would legalize West Bank outposts by a vote of 19-13. If passed into law, the bill would allow for 70 West Bank outposts to be authorized within two years and grant them de facto authorization in the interim. After a preliminary vote is held in the plenum on Wednesday, the legislation must still pass three readings and be sent to committees for approval. The committee also waived the waiting period for the judicial override bill in a 17-15 vote.
The vote on whether to fast-track the direct election bill that Netanyahu strongly supports was delayed because it lacked a majority. Yamina endorsed waiving the waiting period for the bill, but Ra’am (United Arab List) did not, leaving it without enough support to pass.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)