The heads of all the coalition factions have been ordered to vote in favor of three sensitive pieces of legislation that have been lumped together when they are presented in the Knesset this week.
Over the weekend, the factions within the coalition met to draft a document of understanding on the issue, in coordination with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The agreement commits the factions to voting en masse for all three bills, which deal with the IDF
draft for the ultra-Orthodox, the threshold for parties entering parliament, and a referendum on any land transfers as part of a peace deal.
The document declares the factions' commitment to support all three bills, citing the coalition's "need to complete the legislative process, strengthen the coalition and meet its goals and obligations to the public."
Furthermore, the document states, members of the coalition only have until 4pm on Monday to file any objections to the bills. In addition, the members of the coalition will uniformly vote against any objections, allowing them to express their dissent but without threatening the legislative process.
The bill on raising the Knesset threshold will go to the vote on Tuesday, at the request of Yisrael Beiteinu
; the vote on "sharing the burden" of IDF service will be presented on Wednesday, at the request of Yesh Atid;
and the referendum bill will be voted upon on Wednesday night and Thursday.
In response, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said "this is a very important week. (These three bills) are formative for this country. It is important to get the ranks in line."
In anticipation of the dramatic vote expected for Tuesday on what has been dubbed the Governance Bill
– which hopes to increase political stability in Israel
by raising election thresholds and tightening conditions for votes of no-confidence – the bill's main supporter Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
attempted to defend the law.
Leiberman spoke to Ynet and explained that "in the current legal state of affairs in Israel, regardless of who is in power, there is a huge gap between what the government decides, and what it can do. This leads to a situation in which decisions which will never be implemented are taken. The government should be allowed to actualize its worldview."
Opposition and Labor
Chairman Isaac Herzog slammed the decision as undemocratic. "This is an ugly dictatorship in which coalition members are turned in puppets on strings," he said.
Leader from opposition parties will convene Sunday evening to decide on how to continue, and it is likely they will chose to boycott the votes in protest of the document.
In veiled reference to Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid
and Bennett – both of which are political newcomers – Herzog slammed those who had promised a "new type of politics," saying they have in fact become "Yisral Beiteinu 2," a reference to Lieberman's party which opposition parties have claimed has autocratic undertones.
"It is embarrassing that those parties pretending to be the political center are signing hate bills opposed to their ideology," Herzog said.
chairman Arye Deri said the document should be seen as a sign of internal coalition troubles: "This document (says) there is no basic trust between coalition members and should thus be dispersed immediately. It is inconceivable that the citizens of Israel will be run by a group of ministers whose only thing in common is a party and personal interests, and a desire to trample the week, like a dictatorship."
Chaiwoman Zehava Gal-On also slammed the move, calling it an attack on the checks and balances of democracy: "This coalitions has lost control and turned its MKs into robots and hostages. It is forcing MKs to vote in favor of laws they reject.