Knesset Member Menachem Ben-Sasson (Kadima), chairman of the Knesset's Constitution Committee, demands that the bill gets its final reading, but it is still unclear whether his demand will be accepted.
Before the Knesset went on its summer break, at the end of July, the bill was approved in the second reading. Due to Shas' firm objection, the third reading was postponed. Ben-Sasson referred to the delay at the time as "a shameful cooperation between Shas and the government".
In a letter written last week to the Knesset's Legal Adviser Nurit Elstein, Ben-Sasson specified the chain of events and noted that according to the Knesset's code, the bill must be voted on the week after the vote was delayed – meaning this week (due to the break).
"After checking with the Knesset's secretariat, I learned that this is not going to happen," Ben-Sasson told the legal adviser.
It should be noted that the Knesset's faction heads have agreed that bills which do not have the full support of all parties will not be voted on. Ben-Sasson noted, however, that in spite of this the Knesset rules require that this bill be voted on and that there is no room for deliberations on the matter.
Ben-Sasson then turned to Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and to the Knesset secretary, attaching a memo written by the parliament's legal adviser following an appeal by The International Coalition for Agunah Rights, in which she had mentioned that the bill should get a third reading at the Knesset plenum.
MK Ben-Sasson warned the Knesset against "a blatant violation of the law and the Knesset code".
According to the MK, "Shas' 'brilliant trick' on the eve of the summer break has turned into a trap. Shas is aggressively trying to prevent the vote despite the legal opinion of the Knesset's legal adviser, Attorney Elstein, and contrary to the statutes.
"On the eve of the election break, it is vital that the Knesset shows it is committed to the law, to the code and to the instructions of the legal advisers, rather than to factions trying to torpedo laws benefitting women in Israel."
MK Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad), one of the bill's initiators, added that "this law must be voted on. We have an unequivocal opinion of the Knesset's legal adviser. There's a limit to cynicism."
An official at the Knesset speaker's office told Ynet in response that Itzik will not object a vote on the bill, but that according to an agreement reached with all faction heads, every bill must be approved by all the Knesset factions.