The Habayit Hayehudi faction will hold a tense meeting in the coming days after chairman Daniel Herschkowitz angered his party colleagues by voting for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's land reform plan.
The faction decided early Monday that Herschkowitz would walk out of the vote while the other two Habayit Hayehudi MKs would vote against it. But following a meeting with Netanyahu, Herschkowitz decided at the last minute to support it.
"The minister's vote was shameful, because the faction decided to oppose selling the land for religious and Zionist reasons," Habayit Hayehudi MK Zevulun Orlev said. "We need soul-searching in our party so such a thing doesn't happen again. The minister had to leave the room. Anyone who thought differently must have been threatened, enticed or out of his mind."
Herschkowitz said he was satisfied with the compromise he reached with Netanyahu, whereby a ministerial committee would be formed to change the reform plan. He said he thought his colleagues would agree to the decision because Netanyahu threatened to remove the party from the coalition if he absented himself from the vote.
"In accordance with the faction's decision not to leave the government, we got the maximum that was possible at the last moment," Herschkowitz said. "There was a majority without Habayit Hayehudi, and any other decision would leave us out of the coalition and unable to torpedo selling the land. The other MKs said in the faction meeting that the days of right-wing parties toppling right-wing governments were over."
In an effort to persuade Herschkowitz, Netanyahu's aides Natan Eshel and Zvi Hauser attended the Habayit Hayehudi faction meeting.
"You can't cherry-pick clauses in the coalition agreement to support and to oppose," Hauser told the MKs. "Friends are judged when times are tough, not when they are easy."
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