As the opposition continues to boycott Knesset hearings due to the coalition's deal to pass controversial bills, opposition members state they will walk out of the plenum during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech on Wednesday, immediately after British Prime Minister David Cameron's address to the Israeli parliament.
The opposition's intentions caused a rift between Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and opposition faction leaders, who convened Tuesday to decide on their next steps.
"I demand that you do not sabotage Cameron's visit," said Edelstein to opposition leaders. "As long as you protest within the political framework it is acceptable, but there are things that are off limits. This is the visit of a foreign leader."
Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz, who took part in the Edelstein-opposition meeting, said that he proposes that in return for not disrupting Wednesday's Knesset events, the coalition will postpone the approval of one of the speeches. Some opposition members opposed the proposal, and sources privy to Edelstein said that the opposition's brazen conduct is "extortion."
"You have already harmed me even though I tried to do everything for you in the past two days," said Edelstein. "Don't harm the Knesset and government's dignity."
Coalition Chairman Knesset Member Yariv Levin said in response that "this is a new kind of violent and bullying behavior by the opposition, which refuses to accept a democratic decision and respect the Knesset's sovereignty. The opposition's chairman (Isaac Herzog), who dreams of an alternative government, is misappropriating the small role he has in the foreign relations field – as chairman of the Israel-Britain Association, he single-handedly sabotages ties with Britain and harms Israel's image in one of Europe's most important countries."
Levin further said that "all along, the Knesset speaker worked to bring forth maximum response to the opposition's demands, and his efforts led to setting unusual and extensive deliberations that the opposition refused to exercise. I call on the opposition to come to its senses – stop degrading the Knesset. Respect the Knesset speaker, your position and your responsibility."