Bibi votes against probe
Photo: Noam Moscowitz

Knesset says 'no' to probe of Left

Knesset votes down rightist proposal to launch investigation into leftist groups' funding by large margin; most ministers stay away from vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu votes against suggested probe

The Knesset rejected by a large margin Wednesday evening a proposal to launch a probe into the funding of leftist organizations in Israel.



Both proposals on the issue were defeated by a 57 to 28 margin.


While all members of Kadima and leftist parties voted against the bill, many government ministers were either absent from the vote or voted against it.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also among the objectors to the proposal.


The votes followed a political confrontation between PM Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who convened his faction to slam Bibi's lack of support on the issue.


During the votes, Lieberman chose to sit at the Knesset members' benches, rather than at the government table, in an apparent gesture meant to show his displeasure.


However, in a talk with Ynet late Wednesday, Lieberman made it clear that he has no intention to destabilize the coalition.


"I'm hearing interpretations about a struggle between Benjamin Netanyahu and his foreign minister, and it's simply untrue," he said. "This is a battle for the way, for a worldview."


The FM noted that his party is not seeking pretexts for a crisis or for toppling the coalition.


"If I was seeking reasons, there are plenty of them, every day," he said. "Precisely at this time we need coalition and government stability in the face of all the challenges."


'Horrifying notion'

The Ministers absent from the vote included Ehud Barak Yisrael Katz, Yuli Edelstein, Gilad Ardan, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Ariel Atias, Limor Livnat, Silvan Shalom and Eli Yishai.


The probe was endorsed by most members of Yisrael Beiteinu, some members of Likud, and a few other rightist members. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) also voted against an investigation of the Left.


The Knesset convened Wednesday for a heated debate on the controversial proposals, which called for a parliamentary inquiry committee that will focus on the workings of far Left organizations.


The bill was brought before the Knesset by MK Danny Danon (Likud) and MK Faina Kirschenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu).


Human rights organizations slammed the move, saying it was "another bill in a series of legislative moves which cultivate the stifling of criticism. This is a grave move meant to 'mark enemies within' for the sake of political gain."


Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni (Kadima) spoke against the bill, calling it a "horrifying notion."


"This bill should never have been conceived. Netanyahu's coalition breeds malevolence," she said.


However, MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) slammed leftist groups during the Knesset debate.


"They lie, they snitch, they present false information and they're causing damage to the State of Israel," he said. "I'm talking about organizations that receive funding from foreign states in order to create an uncomfortable situation for the State of Israel."


Attila Somfalvi contributed to the story



פרסום ראשון: 07.20.11, 22:00
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