Coalition refuses to vote on deportation bill

Lapid, Bitan clash over their legislation to kick out families of terrorists.

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January 19, 2017 02:23
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud MK David Bitan.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud MK David Bitan.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and coalition chairman David Bitan clashed Wednesday over the future of a bill they cosponsored that would deport the families of terrorists.

After the Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided to postpone the vote on whether to endorse the bill to allow the defense and interior ministers the power of deportation, Lapid used his power as a cosponsor of the bill to bring it to a vote at the Knesset plenum.

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The coalition opposes the deportation of families of terrorists, an act that will deter future terrorists, he said.

“We have waited for 10 months, impatiently,” Lapid said at the Knesset. “People have died in the meantime, and you [the government] have done nothing. Is this your war on terrorism?” Meanwhile, Bitan (Likud) used the same right and asked Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and the Knesset secretary to postpone the vote to a later date.

In this unprecedented situation, Edelstein admitted that he failed to resolve the conflict and sided with the coalition request.

The speaker’s office explained that Bitan was first to reach the Knesset secretariat, hence the speaker approved delaying the vote.

The bill is set to “give the government the tools to handle the waves of terrorism and violence and increase the deterrence for the residents of the region from taking part or assisting in terrorist acts against the State of Israel or its inhabitants,” according to its explanations.

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The bill also states that family members who help commit the act of terrorism or who know about it in advance could lose their permanent residence status if they are residents of sovereign Israel, including east Jerusalem, or be deported from the West Bank.

MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid), who also cosponsored the bill, said the government is motivated by political needs and not by what is good for the people.

“This coalition is afraid of its own shadow.

The ministers of the cabinet should be ashamed of themselves. Instead of making sure that a terrorist family pays a hefty and personal price and through that deterring the next perpetrator, they are playing cynical and a political game.”

David Bitan’s office declined to comment

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