MK Ya’acov Katz (National Union) pulled his bill meant to legalize unauthorized West Bank homes at the last possible minute on Wednesday, citing a request from his rabbi, who had been pressured by the Likud.

Everyone from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Katz’s closest aides were baffled by the move, unaware of what the National Union leader was planning. Katz announced in the  plenum that he would postpone the vote for two weeks after already presenting the bill, hearing Minister without Portfolio Bennie Begin’s response and giving a rebuttal.

The two-week postponement makes the legislation less likely to pass all of the readings and committees necessary to become law before July 1, when the High Court of Justice has ordered the state to demolish five apartment buildings in the Ulpana outpost on the outskirts of the Beit El settlement. On the same day, the state told the court it will take down the Mitzpe Assaf outpost, home to 25 families. The Migron outpost, which is home to 50 families, is set to be razed by August 1. All three outposts were classified by the state as private Palestinian property.

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