Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may have instigated a crisis with his largest
coalition partner, Israel Beiteinu, Thursday night when he announced that he
will oppose the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry committee into
left-wing and human rights non-governmental organizations.
Beiteinu MK Faina Kirschenbaum initiated the bill using wording taken from a
speech by Netanyahu himself. But after a week of controversy over the
anti-boycott bill that passed in the Knesset on Monday, the prime minister
decided to not support another bill that would have raised the anger of the
Knesset to vote on possible probe of left-wing NGOs
FM: High Court shouldn't intervene in Knesset decisions
"I do not propose parliamentary commissions of
inquiry," the prime minister told hundreds of Chabad emissaries at the Tel Aviv
Fairgrounds at a gathering celebrating 20 years of the Federation of Jewish
Communities of the Former Soviet Union (FJC). "We don¹t need investigations in
the Knesset." Netanyahu slightly softened his tone and said he would not force
Likud MKs to vote against the bill.
"There are others who don't agree, so
I'll grant them voting freedom," he said.
But Netanyahu's opposition
guaranteed that there would be no majority for the bill, which already looked
unlikely to pass. Lieberman said in a Knesset press conference on Wednesday that
he would insist on coalition discipline in favor of Kirschenbaum's
"If there won't be coalition discipline, we will see it as harming
Israel Beiteinu," Lieberman said. "There has to be the same rules for every
party in the coalition. We will make every effort to pass the bill next week."
Lieberman warned that if coalition discipline was not enforced, his 15-member
faction, which is normally the coalition's most loyal, could feel free to act
independently. His spokesman declined to issue a new statement Thursday night
but there are several bills Netanyahu wants to pass before the Knesset begins
its summer recess August 3 that Lieberman could block if he chooses to wreak
havoc in revenge.
?The struggle against organizations that support terror
directly or indirectly and harm IDF soldiers and the state of Israel's right to
defend itself is essential to the continued existence and security of the state
of Israel," Kirschenbaum said. "It is unfortunate that the heads of Likud are
sacrificing essential security interests, their obligation to their voters and
their nationalist values in order to find favor with the Leftist media.? In his
speech, the prime minister also reiterated his opposition to a proposal that
would initiate hearings for nominees to the Supreme Court and give a Knesset
committee veto power over the nominations.
"In democracy there is a
separation of powers between the legislative and judicial authorities," he said.
"One of our most basic foundations is the courts and it cannot be harmed. I will
defend the court." The prime minister congratulated the FJC and the Chabad
movement for their efforts working with the Jewish communities of the former
"Everywhere in the Soviet Union, there was darkness and you
brought light," he said. "We are all fighting the same fight and share a joint
mission for the sake of the Jewish people and the Jewish homeland people. With
you we embrace the communities of the Diaspora all over the world. We are
celebrating tonight the return to Israel of a large tribe. You strengthened it
and helped build the state of Israel." Present at the celebration was
billionaire businessman and president of the FJC Lev Leviev along with Rabbi
Berel Lazar, chief rabbi of Russia.
The FJC administers a number of
different funds for its member communities, dedicated to Jewish community
development, rebuilding communal institutions and creating infrastructure and