Will Supermarket Bill be brought to a vote?

Passing of MK Yogev's mother means he will likely miss vote, jeopardizing required majority - but coalition leaders still seek to hold vote.

Hezki Baruch ,

Empty Knesset plenum
Empty Knesset plenum
Flash 90

The coalition must decide this morning, Monday, whether it will hold a hearing and vote today on the second and third readings of the Supermarket Bill, following the death of Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev’s mother, Elisheva Vagenberg.

The law would grant the Interior Minister the powers to block bylaws passed by municipal authorities that allow grocery stores and mini markets to open on Shabbat, ignoring the longstanding and agreed upon national "status quo" against commerce on Shabbat.

The coalition had already postponed the vote, which was to have taken place last week, by another week, after coalition leaders understood that they would not be able to muster the majority needed to approve the bill.

In light of his mother’s passing, Yogev is not expected to arrive for a vote on the bill, which will decrease the coalition majority to a margin of one or two votes, depending on results of pressure on MKs Tali Ploskov (Kulanu) and Sharren Haskel (Likud), who previously indicated a decision not to support the bill.

The fear is that such a narrow majority is not enough for a whole night of voting. Such a narrow majority could lead to the collapse of the coalition in one of the hundreds of votes expected and complicate legislation.

However, it is a Catch-22 situation, and coalition leadership would prefer not to postpone the vote once again, out of fear that pressure on coalition MKs will increase during the week.

Now, coalition leadership will try to widen the majority, and ultimately will have to decide whether to go to a vote or give up and postpone the vote for another week.