Haredi filibuster plan foils vote to increase female representation

Shas and UTJ submitted so many reservations, it would have taken 35 hours to have speeches and votes on all of them.

March 20, 2014 23:10
2 minute read.
Members of the 19th Knesset [file].

Knesset 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Uriel Sinai/Pool )


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Legislation rewarding municipal parties with women on their lists did not go to a final vote as planned Wednesday night after haredi parties threatened a filibuster.

The bill, proposed by Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women and Gender Equality chairwoman Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and MKs Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid), Hanin Zoabi (Balad) and Dov Henin (Hadash), was the final item on the Knesset's agenda for its last meeting before the legislature went on Pessah recess.

However, Lavie and Kariv pulled the bill at the last minute, after Shas and UTJ submitted so many reservations on it that it would have taken 35 hours – from Wednesday night to Friday afternoon – to have speeches about and votes on all of them.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said he is certain that the legislation will be brought to a vote soon after the Knesset's summer session commences in May, before officially closing the winter session.

However, Yerach Tucker, spokesman for MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ), said the party will not give up and continue its efforts in the summer session, as well.

"Wasn't it stunning?" quipped when asked to comment on his party's plan's success. "Gafni prepared a two hour speech. MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) was going to read the whole Hagada. MK Eli Yishai (Shas) prepared Divrei Torah. We were going to continue until Shabbat. Gafni said the coalition would give up, and they did; they realized we were serious." According to Tucker, haredi MKs "ended the winter session with a good feeling." The bill in question grants municipal party lists that are at least one-third female with an additional 15 percent in campaign funding. That addition would only be given eight months after the election, so that parties can’t just put women on their lists for the extra money and make those women quit after they’re voted in.

“This bill will increase female representation in the municipal arena. Half of taxpayers are women and they deserve to be represented,” Kariv said last week in a Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women and Gender Equality meeting.

In the same meeting, MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) managed to push off the vote to authorize the legislation for its second and third (final) readings by proposing so many revisions that it took the panel's entire meeting to vote on them all.

When Zoabi and Kariv accused Maklev of filibustering their bill, he responded that they were being unfair and that “this topic needs a much deeper discussion.”

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