The Knesset Law Committee voted on Sunday to approve a proposal by committee chairman David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu) to raise the electoral threshold from two to four percent.
The proposal will be brought to the Knesset plenum for approval along with other electoral reforms on Wednesday; however, none of the reforms are expected to be passed into law in their final readings until the Knesset returns from its extended summer recess in October.
Arab MKs protested that the vote was held during Ramadan on a Sunday when both Muslims and Christians in their parties were inconvenienced from coming.
In the Knesset Law Committee meeting, Labor and Hadash MKs accused Rotem of expediting the passage of the bill so that party chairman Avigdor Liberman would have an accomplishment before the summer recess.
When Rotem said that he would be proceeding with the bill despite the MKs' complaints, Labor MK Miki Rosenthal called him "a little fascist."
Hebrew University Professor Avraham Diskin, who is considered the country's top author on electoral reform, warned that raising the threshold would waste thousands of votes and would ultimately hurt large parties not just small parties.
He noted that it was Bayit Yehudi, a medium-sized party, that forced Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to form a coalition that he did not want.
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