The Chairwoman of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, and the Shaked's fill-in at the committee, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, announced Wednesday afternoon that they will be punishing members of the opposition by preventing them from discussing bills in the committee after they attempted to stifle a government-led bill in the Knesset using what were considered to be unethical tactics.
The decision was made to sanction the opposition over their purportedly underhanded attempt to foil legislation that allowed MK Yaaokov Litzman to return to the Health Ministry as Deputy Health Minister with ministerial powers.
The opposition caught the coalition off guard Wednesday when they attempted to exploit the fact that many of its members were absent due to their attendance at the funeral of Tuesday's terror attack victim Rabbi Raziel Shevah.
Aware that Bayit Yehudi's Knesset members were at the funeral in Havat Gilad and and Shas MKs were an event celebrating the birth of party leader Aryeh Deri's granddaughter, the opposition pounced on the rare opportunity afforded by a governmental minority in the Knesset by withdrawing all reservations to the bill without warning and requested that the voting begin immediately.
The unpleasant surprise, which coalition members dubbed as insensitive and condemned as foul play, was initiated by head of the Zionist Union faction in the Knesset, MK Yoel Hasson, and Yesh Atid Knesset faction head MK Ofer Shelah.
But the opposition's plan was thwarted by independent MK Orly Levy-Abekasis who stalled for time, delaying the vote.
In a statement published by ministers Levin and Shaked entitled "The contemptible behavior of the opposition," it was noted that "the opposition committee's bills will not be included on the agenda of the ministerial committee, because of their conduct in recent votes and their leaders' cynical exploitation of the funeral of a terrorist victim."
Minister Levin said that "the conduct of the opposition (Wednesday) crossed all lines, when in a senseless and inhumane move they chose to take advantage of the participation of ministers and Knesset members attending the funeral of a man who died in a terrorist attack, in order to try to harm legislation in the Knesset plenum."
Minister Shaked supported Levin's assertion, adding that "the lack of humanity revealed (Wednesday) by the opposition is the straw that broke the camel's back. This followed their contempt of the Knesset for the past two weeks, during which members of the opposition wanted to appeal to the High Court against laws passed by the Knesset.
"I will not agree to a situation in which the opposition is doing its parliamentary role and carrying out filibusters of entire days just to run to the High Court immediately after losing. The opposition must decide whether it is sticking to the path of legislation or a path of bypassing the Knesset. It is impossible to accept a situation in which a party petitions against legislation in the Knesset on one hand, and on the other hand seeks to promote laws in the Knesset."
MK Yoel Hasson recriminated against Levin and Shaked's statements, accusing them of "cynically exploiting a tragic terrorist incident for the political goals of the coalition.
"Minister Shaked already announced two weeks ago that she intends to prevent any discussion on opposition bills (in the committee)," Hasson said, claiming her statement is nothing but deception which used Shevah's death as a pretext to implement predetermined initiatives.
"This is just more proof that the coalition has lost its commitment to basic democratic rules. The government is trying to limit the actions of the opposition by non-democratic means," he added. "Today they are doing this to us; tomorrow they will do it to anyone else who opposes the Likud's rule.