Two rebels can be enough to destabilize the narrow, 61-seat coalition, but Smotrich and Hazan’s act of protest had little impact.
By LAHAV HARKOVUpdated: JANUARY 26, 2016 01:45
MKs Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) and Oren Hazan (Likud) kept their vow not to vote with the coalition Monday in protest over the IDF’s evacuation of Jews who moved into a Hebron home.Two rebels can be enough to destabilize the narrow, 61-seat coalition, but Smotrich and Hazan’s act of protest had little impact.The two votes that took place went the coalition’s way despite Hazan and Smotrich’s absence. The opposition’s no-confidence motions were voted down 50-49, and a bill exempting experienced immigrant dentists from taking an exam to practice in Israel passed with no opponents in the coalition or opposition.Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein then stopped the plenum meeting shortly after 6 p.m., at the recommendation of Knesset Security Officer Yosef Griff.The move delayed the expected first reading of the controversial NGO transparency bill, which would require organizations mostly funded by foreign governments to detail the contributions in all publications.“When you follow your truth and do the right thing, God helps,” Smotrich, who proposed a similar NGO bill last year, tweeted after the plenum meeting was cut short.Earlier, the Bayit Yehudi MK asserted that there is no reason for Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon not to authorize the families to move into the Hebron house immediately, saying they purchased the house legally.Advertisement“If they’re out of the house, I am out of the plenum,” Smotrich stated.About 20 families moved into the two large, adjacent stone buildings in Hebron on Thursday afternoon with documents in hand, which they said proved they had purchased it from their Palestinian owners.But at 9 a.m. Friday, the Border Police with the help of the IDF, forced open the doors to the buildings and pulled out anyone who did not walk away on their own.Issuing his first response on the matter, Ya’alon said the settlers had failed to obey the law and, therefore, were evicted.“Israel is a country of laws and I have no intention of compromising when the law has been violated,” Ya’alon said.Those who “invaded” the Hebron homes “crudely violated” that law, he said.Also Monday, Zionist Union sought to take advantage of the MKs’ rebellion, proposing a bill to disperse the Knesset, which would bring an election if it passes a final vote.Zionist Union faction chairwoman Merav Michaeli said “even members of the coalition lost confidence in the head of their camp.“If [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu does not succeed in controlling members of his party…that is his problem. As the leaders of the opposition, we in the Zionist Union will use all the tools we have until we replace this bad government and the person at its head,” Michaeli stated.Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said in a faction meeting that his party will vote in favor of the bill to disperse the Knesset, and he hopes there will be an election this year.Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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