(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The revelation of the government’s proposed gas deal Tuesday at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request did not appear to change a single vote in the Knesset. Netanyahu was forced to postpone a vote Monday night on a procedural motion that must pass before the gas deal can be brought to vote.
While the deal itself has a majority, the procedural motion did not, at least as of Monday night, and following the release of the deal, nothing had changed.
Economy Minister Arye Deri, who could singlehandedly bypass the vote on the procedural motion in the Knesset, welcomed the deal’s publication but said he would not cave in to pressure from Netanyahu to take the step.
Yisrael Beytenu officials said the party continued to support the deal itself but would not help pass the procedural motion. Other opposition factions also said they would not come to Netanyahu’s assistance.
“We succeeded in bringing the deal to fundamental public discourse,” said Zionist Union faction head Merav Michaeli. “The problem is not only how Netanyahu handled the deal, but also what is in it.”
Zionist Union Mk Shelly Yacimovich went further, saying: “It is now clear why Netanyahu didn’t want to reveal the deal. The companies got incentives that are intolerable.” Coalition chairman Tzachi Hanegbi expressed frustration that opposition factions did not support the procedural motion Monday. He said he hoped that public support for the deal would influence MKs to enable the legislative procedure to be completed.
“We had hoped that on an issue that would bring the economy billions, the opposition would act more statesmanlike and disregard the artificial divides of coalition and opposition,” Hanegbi said.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who is the cabinet’s liaison to the Knesset, said he was not surprised that the deal’s publication had no immediate political impact, although he said the move at least ended criticism that the deal was being hidden from the public.
“We will eventually pass the gas deal, but it is not burning for us,” Levin said.
“It could take a week or two or a month, but it will get done.”