The Knesset Plenum

Knesset dispersal bill moves forward after all-nighter in parliament

Legislation passes 53-0, putting legislature on fast track to dissolution by Wednesday; coalition, opposition wrangle over bill to fund construction of subway system to ease Israel's perennial traffic problem

Moran Azulay |
Published: 06.28.22, 09:29
A preliminary vote to disperse Knesset was passed 53-0 overnight Tuesday, putting the Israeli parliament on a fast track to dissolution.
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  • Lawmakers are expected to hold the second and third votes on the bill Wednesday, after which it will become law.
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    מליאת הכנסת
    מליאת הכנסת
    The Knesset Plenum
    (Photo: AFP)
    The coalition and opposition agreed on the move after hours of rigorous negotiations over the timing of new elections and other procedural matters.
    The two sides submitted October 25 and November 1 as possible dates on which the next elections could be held.
    Additionally, the parties agreed that a proposed bill barring a person under an indictment from forming a government will not go forward in the current Knesset. The legislation is aimed at blocking Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu — who faces corruption charges — from coming back to power.
    As per Likud's request, campaign budgets allocated to each of the legislature's parties will increase by a total of NIS 31.2 million ($9 million), pushing party funding alone to NIS 200 million ($58 million).
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    מרב מיכאלי
    מרב מיכאלי
    Transport Minister Merav Michaeli
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    Another point of contention was the so-called Metro Bill, which will earmark funds in excess of NIS 150 billion ($43 billion) for the construction of a subway system in Israel's heavily congested central region.
    The project, which is considered one of Transport Minister Merav Michaeli's main objectives, has been stalling for years amid Israel's years-long political turmoil.
    The Labor leader was joined by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman overnight Tuesday in a plea to opposition lawmakers to put political interests aside and support the bill.
    "Israel is a modern country that lacks a subway system like New York, Paris or London, and that is why we face perpetual traffic jams. This is not a right or left issue," Bennett said.
    "If the legislation is not passed now, it will be pushed off for many years and our children will pay the price. Whenever we're stuck in traffic, Israelis will remember that some self-seeking politicians prevented them from taking the subway for dubious reasons."
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    ועדת הכנסת
    ועדת הכנסת
    MK Nir Orbach at the Knesset House Committee
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    The dispersal of parliament, which was announced last week, hit a snag earlier on Monday after Knesset House Committee Chairman MK Nir Orbach pushed off the vote several times.
    The rebel Yamina lawmaker previously said he wanted to delay the dissolution of the Knesset to allow the right-wing bloc to form an alternative government within the current Knesset, thus avoiding Israel's fifth snap election in just over three years.
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