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Opposition Chairman Herzog, Sunday Photo: Ido Erez
Opposition Chairman Herzog, Sunday Photo: Ido Erez
 
Emergency opposition meeting, Sunday (Photo: Ido Erez)
Emergency opposition meeting, Sunday (Photo: Ido Erez) 
 
 

Opposition to boycott Knesset debates on disputed bills

In response to coalition's move to tie together votes on controversial bills, opposition announces it will ban Knesset hearings the entire week.

Moran Azulay
Published: 03.09.14, 22:24 / Israel News

The coalition's commitment to approve controversial bills as a single unit has led to an emergency meeting of opposition factions Sunday evening in Tel Aviv, who have decided to take unprecedented measures against the procedure.

 

  

Opposition Chairman Knesset Member Isaac Herzog announced that "steps that have never been seen since the establishment of the Knesset will be taken," stating that it was decided by coalition faction leaders to boycott all parliamentary deliberations in the upcoming week.

 

All members of the opposition will not take part in Knesset plenary discussions, including all deliberations relating to the controversial bills – governance bill, IDF haredi draft bill and referendum bill.

 

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Opposition MKs are only expected to join the plenum during the speech of Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron. The opposition members will convene in another hall in the Knesset Monday morning, where they will hold a public debate on democracy in Israel.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid have already signed the coalition commitment agreement, and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman and Hatnua Chairman Tzipi Livni are also expected to sign the agreement in question. Bayit Yehudi members will hold a consultation about the agreement, and are also expected to sign it.

 

An official statement released by the opposition noted that "even though the opposition is not homogenous, we are all united around the struggle for maintaining democracy. We have a weak and hysterical coalition, in which no one trusts the other, and it is trying to pass critical laws with political brutality."

 

Emergency opposition meeting, Sunday (Photo: Ido Erez)
Emergency opposition meeting, Sunday (Photo: Ido Erez)

 

Prior to the decision, Opposition Chairman Herzog explained why these measures were discussed in the first place: "The government is about to employ extreme and unusual steps based on hatred, alienating different groups from the Israeli society, marginalizing certain political parties and silencing and preventing true discussion in the Israeli Knesset."

 

"Even the mafia has codes and trust without having to sign agreements," said Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On.

 

MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), who initiated boycott of the Knesset deliberations, said: "Against this coalition, which is crumbling and forced to sign its members to action, is a strong and united opposition. This is a government that has no ideals, a government based on deal-breaking."

 

Ynet revealed a document on Sunday by which coalition party leaders have been ordered to vote in favor of the three sensitive pieces of legislation that have been lumped together when they are presented in the Knesset this week. The move, which is the result of deep distrust among the parties, sparked much criticism in the political sphere and expressions of support among ruling parties.

 

The referendum bill demands public approval for transfer of territories under Israeli sovereignty in the framework of political negotiations. The law was amended to a basic law, and now requires a majority of 61 MKs in order to change it.

 

The IDF haredi draft bill, which was the result of a prolonged and complex political process, deals with the issue of burden equality and the recruitment of haredim and Yeshiva students. The bill exempts 22-year-old Yeshiva students from army service and demands a gradual process of young haredi draft until the year 2017.

 

The governance bill is designed to make it difficult to overthrow a government and limits, among other things, the opposition's ability to express non-confidence in the acting cabinet. The bill also raises the electoral threshold to 3.25% and limits the number of ministers in the cabinet.

 

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