(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The coalition failed to get a majority against an opposition bill Wednesday as the Knesset approved in an early vote legislation giving parents the right to be present whenever a doctor examines their newborn children.
This is the fourth time the coalition has not achieved a majority for a vote since this Knesset was elected, and the second time an opposition bill was approved in a preliminary reading.
The 61-seat coalition, narrow as it is, is especially challenged this week with the absence of Interior Minister Silvan Shalom and MK Oren Hazan, both from Likud.
Shalom announced on Sunday night he will leave politics in light of sexual misconduct allegations against him but had not yet officially tendered his resignation when voting took place Wednesday.
Hazan was suspended from the Knesset for a month for ethical violations, mostly involving name-calling of other MKs. He is allowed to vote in the plenum and in committees during his suspension, but not to give speeches or participate in discussions.
However, in Monday’s Likud faction meeting, Hazan complained that he is only allowed into the plenum during the actual voting and does not have enough time to get to his seat.
“I’m not Carl Lewis,” Hazan quipped, referring to the former Olympic runner.
As such, the government decided to only put bills that had some opposition support on Monday’s agenda.
On Wednesday, when private member bills go to a vote, the coalition did not have that option.
The bill that passed Wednesday was proposed by MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and states that parents have the right to be present at all examinations of newborn children.
Currently, in many cases, newborns are kept in one room in hospitals and a doctor usually checks them all, one after the other, often with no parent present.
“The bill will allow parents to be present during the examination, to be partners and updated in real time about the newborn baby’s situation, and calm the babies when they cry,” Lavie explained.