Opposition MKs Slam Coalition as One Big 'Mafia'
Opposition MKs on Sunday said they may boycott the Knesset's discussions on three major laws that are to be discussed by MKs. According to Labor Party chairman MK Yitzhak Herzog, “the Opposition is considering taking unprecedented steps that have never been implemented” in protest over the methods by which Coalition MKs were seeking to pass the bills. The laws, Herzog said, reeked of “hatred, an attempt to exclude groups from Israeli society, ignoring political opinions that the coalition disagrees with, and an attempt to shut the mouths of MKs by denying the possibility of debate.”
Opposition MKs met on Sunday in Tel Aviv to develop an official stance in advance of the major votes that are set to take place in the Knesset. The laws include the Governance Bill, which would significantly raise the voting threshold, risking several small parties’ ability to enter Knesset; the enlistment bill, which will see hareidi yeshiva students become eligible for the draft for the first time in Israel’s history; and the National Referendum bill, which would require the government to hold a national referendum before conceding Israeli territory to a foreign entity.
On Sunday, Coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin (Likud-Beytenu) urged members of Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition to sign a document that would commit them to fully support the laws in the upcoming votes. Observers called the demand “unprecedented,” and members of the opposition bitterly complained over the commitment document, claiming that many Coalition MKs would vote against some, if not all, of the bills if they were free to do so.
Meretz chairperson MK Zehava Gal-on compared the Coalition to “the mafia, but worse. At least in the mafia there is a code of honor, where the mobsters keep their word.” That, she said, was not the case in Netanyahu's government, where “they have to sign documents because nobody believes anyone else.”
Labor MK Eitan Cabel said that the requirement to sign a document “sounds like it was taken from the plot of a movie about organized crime. They can't bear the sight of each other, so they have to exchange and communicate through documents, with one's back to the other.”