Netanyahu evoked his authority to stifle the vote in the Knesset Ministerial Committee on Legislation and remove it from the agenda, a move that could presage yet another crisis within the coalition’s ranks.
According to the proposed legislation, any decision taken on Jerusalem’s fate would require the consent of eighty MKs in the Knesset.
In the last 24 hours, Netanyahu and Bennett have locked horns on the matter, despite the fact that Netanyahu has been a chief and unwavering proponent of Jerusalem remaining the “eternal and undivided capital” of Israel.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu used his power of veto on the ‘Unified Jerusalem Bill’ and the bill has, for the time being, been stopped,” Bennett said. “We unify Jerusalem with actions, not with speeches. We regret that small political considerations prevail over preventing the division of Jerusalem. We will continue to fight for the passing of this bill, and will undertake all efforts to advance it in the coming days.”
With Likud and Bayit Yehudi both drumming competing beats that resonate with Israel's right-wing supporters, albeit at somewhat differing tempos, Netanyahu’s party characteristically snapped back against Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi), accusing their party of deliberately circumventing protocol in an effort to enshrine the bill into law.
“The coalition agreement states that all fundamental Basic Law bill proposals are first approved by all components of the coalition, and this is what is required this time,” a Likud statement read.
“The prime minister used his authority not to make a decision in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on the matter of the Jerusalem bill since the Chairman of the Committee, Shaked, did not agree to submit a draft resolution requiring the consent of the Minister for Jerusalem Affairs (Ze’ev) Elkin (Likud) and the prime minister to continue advancing the bill.”