Knesset summer session expected to close quietly

Sources say Rotem won't raise conversion bill for surprise vote.

After a raucous four months, the Knesset’s summer session is expected to come to a close Wednesday with more of a whisper then a bang. With a voting schedule slated to keep MKs busy into the late evening, the session was unlikely to conclude with any last-minute surprises.
Knesset protocol prohibits holding votes on bills that have not yet started the legislative procedure on the last Wednesday before the end of any session, even though Wednesdays are usually devoted to private members’ bills.
Although opponents of MK David Rotem’s (Israel Beiteinu) conversion bill remained wary that the veteran legislator would attempt to raise his bill for a surprise vote on Wednesday, sources close to Rotem emphasized on Tuesday that the bill would only be raised “when he has enough votes for the bill to pass.”
The bills that are likely to pass at the last minute Wednesday are unlikely to make any waves.
For example, a bill promoted by Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud), which would provide students who completed IDF or national service with a free year of academic studies at colleges in the periphery, is likely to sail through.
Gamliel’s bill enjoys wide support, and has already been promised a NIS 80 million budgetary allocation in the draft budget.
In contrast, the previous session ended with an impassioned debate as the coalition pushed through the first reading of the biannual budget bill that became law earlier this month. Even that was calm, compared to the conclusion of last year’s summer session, which was extended into the recess following an opposition filibuster to prolong votes on the Israel Lands Administration Reform Law and the Mofaz Law, an unsuccessful bid to split Kadima.
But this year, the more controversial bills are still on hold. In addition to the conversion bill, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem national referendum bill, Rotem’s own civil unions bill, and the government’s much-touted building and planning reform bill are all still awaiting further deliberation and dealmaking before they will be voted on in the plenum.
A full retrospective of the Knesset’s summer session will appear in this Friday’s Frontlines.