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Knesset Dissolution in Disarray

June 24, 2022

by: Kate Norman

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Member of Knesset Nir Orbach

Friday, 24 June 2022 | Israel’s governing coalition and opposition are in a race against each other and the clock amid the looming dissolution of the Knesset (Parliament).

A package of bills to dissolve the Knesset cleared its first hurdle on Wednesday when it was read before the governing body. In order to be made into law and successfully dissolve the government—sending the Jewish state into its fifth round of elections since 2019—the bill must pass through two Knesset committee reviews and three more readings.

After passing the first reading, however, the bill is getting pulled into different directions, as the coalition is seeking to rush its approval while the opposition is reportedly attempting to delay the bill.

The head of the Knesset Committee is Member of Knesset (MK) Nir Orbach, a member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina Party. However, Orbach quit the coalition last week, costing the coalition its already teetering majority.

Now Orbach is attempting to delay the committee’s review of the bill until Monday morning, buying more time for the opposition, led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party, to attempt to form an alternate government under the current coalition before the Knesset is officially dissolved. Such a move would be possible by a 61-majority vote of the 120-member Knesset.

However, MK Gilad Kariv of the Labor Party, the head of the Law Committee, the other committee that can approve the dissolution bill, announced yesterday that he is going to convene his committee on Sunday—a day before the Knesset Committee’s meeting—to review the bill, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Knesset Committee, headed by Orbach, has the power to divvy out laws and bills to each committee for debate, but Kariv utilized a loophole, the Jerusalem Post wrote, “that allows his committee to initiate a debate on specific issues, including an election, without prior approval.”

This move, however, has sparked much debate within the Knesset over its legality.

The coalition is also rushing to pass several bills before the Knesset dissolves. One bill would bar anyone charged with serious crimes from serving as Israel’s prime minister—likely aimed at Netanyahu, who is currently on trial for corruption charges incurred during his service as prime minister.

The other bill—championed by another former-Netanyahu-ally-turned-enemy Gideon Sa’ar, who serves as Justice Minister—seeks to cap prime minister term limits at eight years.

Before he was unseated by the current coalition in 2019, Netanyahu served as Israel’s premier for 12 years, though the proposed term limit bill would not affect him retroactively, the Times of Israel reported.

The political chess games have been in play since Monday, when Prime Minister Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced that they will dissolve the Knesset and send Israelis back to the ballot boxes for the fifth time in three and a half years.

The elections will likely take place on November 1, the Times of Israel reported, and Lapid would serve as interim prime minister, as stipulated by the negotiations to form the current coalition.

Polls taken this week by several Israeli media outlets predict a grim outcome of elections: a continued deadlock that would keep Israel in its years-long governmental limbo. But as the wheels turn and alliances are formed and broken behind the scenes, no one knows what the next few days, weeks and months hold for Israel’s crumbling Knesset.

Posted on June 24, 2022

Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 24, 2022)

Photo Credit: Meir Elipur (מאיר אליפור)/commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: Wikimedia

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