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Yisrael Beytenu, Shas Plan Absence During Vote

Ministers from the Yisrael Beytenu and Shas parties will likely absent themselves from the vote in the Knesset on the Regulation Bill.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/6/2012, 12:13 AM

Knesset plenum
Knesset plenum
Flash 90

Ministers from the Yisrael Beytenu and Shas parties will likely absent themselves from Wednesday’s vote in the Knesset on the Regulation Bill, aimed at preventing the demolition of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El, as well as other places in Judea and Samaria that are facing the threat of demolition.

On Tuesday it was reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu's Bureau contacted all ministers and deputy ministers and made clear that the government opposes the proposed Regulation Law, and that any ministers and deputies who vote in favor will be fired from the government.

Being absent from the Knesset during the vote saves Yisrael Beytenu and Shas ministers from being forced to vote against the bill and also helps them remain faithful to their voters.

Meanwhile, Minister of Diaspora and Public Affairs Yuli Edelstein and Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel, both from the Likud, are expected to back the law despite the threat. It remains unclear how Minister of Science and Technology Daniel Hershkowitz from the Jewish Home party will vote. Edelstein and Hershkowitz are the only two ministers who have not flinched in stating their intention to support the law. Edelstein said last week that he will vote in favor of the law at any cost.

Other Likud ministers, such as Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom, who expressed support for the bill, are out of the country and will not be in the plenum during the vote.

Gamliel announced on Tuesday evening that even though she has full confidence that Netanyahu will find a way to save the Ulpana neighborhood from being demolished, she still intends to vote in favor of the Regulation Law.

According to Gamliel, “I must obey my conscience, which guides me to stand by citizens who have lived for years in homes which they purchased, and do not have to pay the price for mistakes in which they had no part.”

Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara declared on Tuesday, “I am voting in favor of the law. Period.”

The Women in Green nationalist group said on Tuesday that the law is “Judgment Day” for the Likud.

“If the law does not pass -- Givat HaUlpana, Givat Assaf, Amona and many other communities in Judea and Samaria will topple like dominoes. Thousands of Jews will be expelled,” Women in Green said in a statement.  

The statement declared that failure to pass the bill would be equivalent to “Disengagement Plan, Part 2” referring to the mass expulsions of more than 9,000 Jews from Gush Katif, northern Gaza and four northern Samaria communities in 2005.