Last-ditch effort to push off dissolution of Knesset

Likud MK pushing to delay law to dissolve Knesset in bid to pass additional legislation. 'For the good of the country we must wait.'

David Rosenberg,

Miki Zohar (center) address Knesset committee hearing on dissolving Knesset
Miki Zohar (center) address Knesset committee hearing on dissolving Knesset
Hadas Parush/Flash90

The Knesset began deliberations Wednesday on a coalition-backed bill to dissolve the 20th Knesset and push up elections from November 5th, 2019 to April 9th.

But some coalition lawmakers are making a last-ditch effort to push off the dissolution of the Knesset, in a bid to pass additional legislation before the parliament’s lame-duck session.

On Monday, coalition leaders voted unanimously to dissolve the Knesset and go to early elections. A day later, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation – a group of ministers representing each of the five parties in the coalition – green-lighted a bill to dissolve the Knesset immediately.

The decision came a month after Yisrael Beytenu bolted from the coalition, leaving the Likud-led government with a narrow 61-seat majority in the 120-member Knesset.

While the passage of the bill to dissolve the Knesset seemed guaranteed Wednesday, during deliberations on the proposal, MK Miki Zohar (Likud) pushed to delay the dissolution, arguing that the government was obliged to pass critical bills which did not enjoy wide-spread support in the opposition.

Once the Knesset votes to dissolve itself, the legislature will limit votes during its lame-duck session to bills enjoying broad support in both the coalition government and opposition.

Zohar said that while he supported early elections and would not move to change the date from April 9th 2019, the Knesset should not vote to dissolve itself and enter a lame-duck session this early.

“Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about dissolving the Knesset,” said Zohar. “The date for the new elections has been set, and it cannot be changed. The date is acceptable, and has been agreed upon by all factions.”

But regarding the timing of the dissolution of the Knesset, Zohar continued, “There are a number of very important bills.”

Zohar cited a number of bills including a measure to strengthen Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, a tax benefit proposal, an amendment to the laws on gambling, and a bill regarding the status of interns at law offices.

“The Knesset can be dissolved now or in a few days, and it is critical that we pass these laws.”

Zohar’s push to delay the dissolution of the Knesset received support from Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich.

“Dissolving the Knesset immediately, without giving us a few more days to finishing passing important laws we’ve been working on for a while would be totally irresponsible and would make a joke out of the Knesset and its work, and we cannot agree to that.”