Rain in Jerusalem, November 11, 2015.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A Yesh Atid bill passed in a preliminary vote Wednesday because two Bayit Yehudi MKs were absent in protest over a lack of construction in Jerusalem.
The rebellion in the coalition was coordinated with Bayit Yehudi chairman Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
A bill by former welfare minister MK Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) limiting to 60 the number of cases a social worker can take on passed a preliminary reading 44-42, with Bayit Yehudi MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and Bezalel Smotrich leaving the plenum ahead of the vote.
Smotrich wrote on Twitter that he missed the vote “in protest over Netanyahu breaking his many promises to build in Jerusalem. In a coalition, promises must be kept. When you don’t build in Jerusalem, there are consequences in the coalition.”
Moalem-Refaeli said, “The unity of Jerusalem is no less important than the coalition’s unity. If the prime minister forgets to build in Jerusalem, I will forget how to vote in the plenum,” she quipped.
Yesh Atid celebrated the victory, the third for the opposition since the election.
“This is important news for social workers and the welfare system in Israel. Responsibility has trumped politics,” Cohen said.
In the Likud, MK Yoav Kisch called the result an embarrassment.
“Because of continued negligence, the will of the voters is not being expressed,” he said. “I call on the prime minister and faction leaders to deeply examine the matter. We cannot let it turn into a habit.”
Last week, Kisch’s bill canceling automatic child custody for divorced mothers of children under age six was voted down when Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev did not vote.
The move was not coordinated, and Bennett and Bayit Yehudi faction chairman Yinon Magal punished Yogev, who wrote an apology letter.
Kisch resubmitted his bill on Wednesday.