Something Electoral This Way Comes?

Opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich is hoping to dissolve the Knesset as the Tal Law again throws the Netanyahu government into crisis

Gabe Kahn ,

MK Shelly Yachimovich
MK Shelly Yachimovich
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Opposition leader Shelly Yechimovich announced Tuesday she is submitting a bill to dissolve the Knesset and initiate early elections.

Joined by Labor MK Issac Herzog, the bill is identical to one Yechimovich submitted prior to Kadima entering the coalition in May.

She decided to bring the bill to a vote again amid the renewed coalition crisis brought on by efforts to find a replacement for the controverisal Tal Law.

"The elections were supposed to take place in September, but this natural process was prevented by the cynical, survivalist tactic carried out by the Likud and Kadima," Yechimovich charged.

This "created a giant, ineffective coalition unable to come to a reasonable agreement, even in regard to the Tal Law," she added.

Yechimovich concluded, "The public must now choose at the voting booth between the Likud under the leadership of Netanyahu and Labor under my Leadership."

The opposition leader's move comes one day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu disbanded an ad hoc Knesset committee tasked with drafting a replacement for the Tal Law, leading to a renwed coalition crisis.

Kadima MK Yohanan Plesner, who chaired the committee, said he would release the panel's recommendations on Wednesday irrespective of Netanyahu's wishes.

Netanyahu's decision to pull the plug on Plesner's committee came after the body effectively collapsed amid political discord.

The lone hareidi representative on the committee, attorney Yaakov Weinroth, quit the panel Sunday because of his opposition to the committee's plans to personally sanction hareidim that do not serve.

The right wing Zionist parties on the committee – Yisrael Beyteinu and Habayit Hayehudi – also quit the committee last week for its not obligating mandatory national service for Israeli Arabs.

Both hareidi parties – Shas and United Torah Judaism – refused to participate in the committee's deliberations from the outset.

Netanyahu's decision led several Kadima MKs to demand on Tuesday that their party leave the government, with several vowing to vote against the coalition on all matters.

“Starting tomorrow morning, I see myself as a member of the opposition, voting against the government," Kadima MK Shlomo Molla said. “The prime minister trampled Kadima’s dignity and made the committee irrelevant, choosing to collaborate with haredim and settlers.”

Yechimovich expressed support for the Kadima rebels saying, “This partnership proved to be worthless at the first test.”

These “MKs that are not willing to make a mockery of themselves and be part of the farce are praiseworthy," she added.