Knesset to hold emergency meeting on train-gate

Meretz faction chairman Ilan Gilon accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of going off the rails in his dealings with the train crisis.

By
September 4, 2016 14:43
2 minute read.
Knesset

The Knesset plenum . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Meretz has gathered enough signatures from MKs to be able to hold an emergency Knesset meeting during its ongoing summer recess on the political train crisis.

The party’s efforts got on track Saturday night, when it collected the requisite 25 names to discuss “the prime minister’s surrender to the haredi factions’ demand on the topic of work on the train on Shabbat.”

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The date of the meeting was not yet determined by press time.

Meretz faction chairman Ilan Gilon accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of going off the rails in his dealings with the train crisis: “The white flag [waved] before the haredi parties’ extortion, which led to disruptions of train movement and harmed passengers, is an outrage that the Knesset must discuss.”

Opposition MKs were particularly incensed that the suspended train service railroaded IDF soldiers who needed to return to their bases on Saturday night or Sunday morning.

MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) called on taxi applications Gett and Uber to enlist in the efforts to help soldiers get to their bases.

“I ask you to help the tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians stuck in the transportation crisis the prime minister caused because of a political conflict,” Margalit wrote to the companies’ directors-general. “Transportation in Israel is in a shameful emergency situation that took tens of thousands of people hostage this weekend and throughout the next week.”

Margalit railed against the government, saying it is not functioning and the prime minister is not conducting itself responsibly, and as such, he asked the taxi companies to lower prices.

“The private sector in Israel understands public responsibility better than the government does, and your enlistment will stop the shame of the government mistreating tens of thousands of public transportation passengers,” he wrote.

MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) wrote a letter to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot on Sunday, asking him to instruct commanders not to punish soldiers for reaching their bases late.

“The soldiers should not be punished in any way for the failures of their prime minister, who surrendered to the haredim and disrupted their lives,” he wrote. “I ask you to make sure that there is a clear instruction for commanders that they are understanding of soldiers who reach their bases [late] in light of the chaos this morning.”

Meanwhile, Yesh Atid continued in its efforts to coordinate between soldiers who need to get to their bases and volunteers willing to drive them.

The party rejected accusations from online commentators that they were endangering soldiers by giving out their home addresses without properly vetting the drivers, saying that they checked that the project was legal before it left the station.


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