The Knesset, which used to focus its efforts on improving the lives of the citizens of the State of Israel, seems to be focusing in recent weeks on improving the lives of its own members.
The “recommendations law,” which passed its second and third reading last week, was designed to prevent the police from issuing a harsh statement after concluding their investigations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The plot led by Netanyahu and his people failed, but in order to keep up the pretense that the law wasn’t tailor-made for the prime minister, the coalition decided to complete the legislative process.
How does this law benefit the common citizen? The Israel Police conducts 200,000-300,000 investigations a year. The law approved by the Knesset concerns only 100-200 cases, which are subject both to police recommendations and media coverage. Most of the recommendations the public won’t feast its eyes on are against public figures.
The bottom line is that the people who stand to gain from the law that the coalition insisted on passing are mainly politicians under investigation. This is mostly a victory in the battle for a celebrity discount.
The ultra-Orthodox parties have also realized that there is no king in Israel these days and that the coalition, the Knesset and the state can be extorted. That’s how they passed the Shabbat law (which requires the labor and welfare minister to consider Israel's traditions when providing permits to work on the Jewish day of rest) and how they will pass the supermarkets bill (which allows the interior minister to overrule municipal bylaws allowing commercial activity on Shabbat) and a bonus law for Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman—death penalty for terrorists. Do these laws benefit the citizens of the State of Israel in any way? I highly doubt it.
On the other hand, we saw signs of ideological fiber in Knesset Members Merav Ben Ari and Rachel Azaria of Kulanu, who didn’t show up to vote with the coalition last week. Politically, Moshe Kahlon’s party is facing a crisis. The finance minister wants to stay in the the government after the police recommendations against Netanyahu are released, even in the event of protests and riots on the streets, but some of his faction members may not survive such riots. MK Elie Elalouf has even said that Labor leader Avi Gabbay could be prime minister. The price Kahlon might pay within his party for embracing Netanyahu following the police recommendations could be lethal.
Kahlon himself is confused. On the one hand, he wants to continue the reforms he started, and he truly believes he will be able to solve the housing crisis. On the other hand, he also understands that a considerable part of his voters in the last elections won’t tolerate a situation in which he holds onto his job in the event of harsh police recommendations against Netanyahu. That may be why, as he keeps embracing the prime minister, he is also secretly holding talks with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid to join forces in the next elections.