Government set to pass electricity bill into law Monday

The coalition is also facing a challenge over the decision of Agriculture Minister to remove taxes on imported fruit.

 PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett and Ra’am Chairman Mansour Abbas confer in the Knesset last month. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett and Ra’am Chairman Mansour Abbas confer in the Knesset last month.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s governing coalition will face a challenge on Monday night when it attempts to pass the controversial electricity law.

The bill would enable tens of thousands of illegally built homes to be hooked up to the national electricity grid, as well as to water and to telephone lines.

Coalition MK Michael Biton (Blue and White) was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sunday, which will make it harder for the narrow coalition to pass the bill.

The bill’s sponsor, Ra’am (United Arab List) MK Waleed Taha, told the Knesset plenum it would save lives and “finally do justice for tens of thousands of people who were not given permits to build and were not permitted to be hooked up to the grid.”

But Likud MK David Amsalem has called the bill “the most dangerous step since the state was founded.”The coalition is also facing a challenge over the decision of Agriculture Minister Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu) to remove taxes on imported fruit.

The demand for the popular fruit is rising endlessly. (credit: AGROMASHOV)The demand for the popular fruit is rising endlessly. (credit: AGROMASHOV)

Ten Labor, Meretz and Blue and White MKs have vowed to stop voting with the coalition over the decision. They are also mad at Forer for setting limits on eggs without consulting with farmers.

“If these steps are taken, there will be a coalition crisis,” Blue and White MK Alon Schuster, who is a former agriculture minister, told Army Radio. “There are MKs who are angry at these unilateral steps, and we just won’t come to vote. I don’t recommend challenging the farmers.”