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Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
David Bitan
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Pandemonium in coalition following Knesset vote loss
Poor coordination caused a Meretz bill that the coalition opposed to pass a preliminary reading; David Bitan fires then takes back the firing of the Likud faction director, says those who failed to vote will be punished.

Wednesday afternoon, the Knesset approved a preliminary reading—contrary to the coalition's position—a bill by Meretz faction leader MK Ilan Gilon that would set disability benefits to match the minimum wage.

 

 

While intended to be a roll-call vote, it was changed at the last minute to an electronic one, and member of the coalition did not manage to corral a sufficient number of MKs to their seats in time. Thus, the preliminary reading approved the bill 42–39.

 

Ilan Gilon weeps with emotion after the vote (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Ilan Gilon weeps with emotion after the vote (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

As soon as the bill was approved, the Knesset was filled with rows and loud shouting. Coalition Chairman David Bitan (Likud) announced that every MK who was a member of the coalition that was in the building at the time but who had not voted (and who had not set up a pairing arrangement with a member of the opposition) would be punished. Bitan also quickly announced the dismissal of the manager of the Likud faction due to the loss, but he later said his earlier statement was in anger and recanted.

 

Coalition members blamed MKs who purposely failed to come to the plenum to vote, claiming that they were settling personal scores. MK Nava Boker (Likud) clarified that she did not come to vote because it was regarding a matter the she had championed and thus could not oppose it.

 

Opposition celebrates (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Opposition celebrates (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

Minister of Social Affairs and Social Services Haim Katz (Likud) abstained from voting because he found the bill to be just. Its high cost, some 7 billion shekels, caused him to decide not to support it, but he said that there was room for gradually increasing benefits.

 

Amongst the other coalition members who failed to vote were Oren Hazan (Likud) and Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism).

 

An enraged David Bitan (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
An enraged David Bitan (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

Gilon did not hide his satisfaction: "It's a big embarrassment for the government, and a resounding victory for conscience and common sense. This is the moment to remove the masks and translate the lip service that was paid here (the other day), when the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was marked, to explain how they justify their opposition to the law."

 


פרסום ראשון: 12.09.16, 19:11
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