Israel's coalition's next challenge: Kafr Kassem massacre bill

In an effort to build morale, coalition MKs and their spouses have been invited to a special party with a comedian and a singer on Friday at a wedding hall in Modi'in. 

PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett and ministers in his coalition attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Isaac Herzog in the Knesset on Wednesday. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett and ministers in his coalition attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Isaac Herzog in the Knesset on Wednesday.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s governing coalition is set to face a challenge in the Knesset on Wednesday, when the Joint List brings to a vote a bill to establish a national day of mourning to commemorate the victims of the 1956 Kafr Kassem massacre in which 48 Arab-Israelis were shot dead by Border Police officers.

Both Ra’am (United Arab List) and Meretz want to vote for the bill. Ra’am MK Waleed Taha and Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej (Meretz), who is not an MK, live in Kafr Kassem. Both have introduced similar bills in the past.

At a meeting on Monday, Construction and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin (New Hope) warned Meretz and Ra’am that if they vote for the bill, right-wing ministers would take revenge and vote for right-wing opposition bills that could pass by a wide margin.

In response, Ra’am MK Mazen Ghanaim said he was not worried about such threats and would vote in favor of the bill.

Last week, the opposition narrowly defeated the coalition on a bill that called for a commission of inquiry on education in the Arab sector.

An empty Knesset Plenum  (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)An empty Knesset Plenum (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The coalition made progress toward passing the state budget in the Finance Committee on Wednesday. The controversial kosher certification reform plan advanced in committee as well.

The final votes on the budget are set for next Wednesday and Thursday. In an effort to build morale, coalition MKs and their spouses have been invited to a special party with a comedian and a singer on Friday at a wedding hall in Modi’in.

Ra’am MKs are not expected to come to the event, which is being held on the anniversary of the Kafr Kassem massacre.