Knesset session 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Two Kadima MKs may face disciplinary measures on Wednesday after skipping the
Knesset vote on the “Boycott Bill,” as left-wing organizations announced their
plan to challenge the controversial law in court.
The entire Kadima
faction was told to vote against the bill on Monday, but that party’s MKs Otniel
Schneller and Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich were absent during the vote on the
anti-boycott measure. The bill passed by a margin of nine votes, despite the
fact that eleven ministers – including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – were
absent, leading some Kadima insiders to suspect that either Schneller or
Shamalov-Berkovich made a deal with Netanyahu to balance out his
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Schneller, a former chairman of the Council of Jewish
Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, lives in Ma’aleh Michmash, not
far from Ramallah. He said on Tuesday, “I and my family cannot be boycotted like
The Kadima MK said his party should have “supported the
bill, which was part of the State of Israel’s fight against racism toward its
citizens. If there wasn’t party discipline, I would have voted in favor of the
“Those who oppose the bill with phony democratic claims are
legitimizing the international trend of boycotting Israeli academia, culture and
economics, thereby damaging the legitimacy of Israeli democracy and Jewish
morals,” Schneller added.
Kadima’s disciplinary body is expected to meet
on Wednesday, and decide how to punish Schneller and Shamalov- Berkovich. One of
the more serious possibilities is to remove Schneller from the Knesset Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee.
Kadima MKs Yoel Hasson and Arieh Bibi were
also absent on Monday night, because they were in China, and MK Gideon Ezra
(Kadima) did not come to the Knesset because he was not feeling well.
Ronit Tirosh (Kadima) toed the party line, voting against the bill and each of
its clauses, despite being a vocal supporter of the anti-boycott
“Kadima’s zigzag, in which Livni forced her party’s members to
remove their name from the bill, despite the fact that they were among those who
proposed it, proves that they are a party without an ideology that gives in to
left-wing organizations,” coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), who proposed
the bill, said.
“This makes it final: Kadima is on the left side of the
The original version of the “Boycott Bill” was proposed by Elkin
along with Kadima faction chairwoman MK Dalia Itzik.
The bill that
passed, which Elkin called “vegetarian” compared to its “meaty” first draft,
allows citizens to bring civil suits against persons and organizations that call
for economic, cultural or academic boycotts against Israel, Israeli institutions
or regions under Israeli control. It also prevents the government from doing
business with companies that initiate or comply with such boycotts.
expressed satisfaction after the bill’s passage, saying that “the Knesset has
put an end to the foolishness of boycotts coming from within
“The law isn’t meant to close mouths, but to protect the
citizens of Israel,” he said.