Hanin Zoabi
Hanin ZoabiFlash90

MKs from the left-wing Hatnua party, as well as several MKs from Yesh Atid, disappeared Wednesday afternoon during a vote on the appeal by radical Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) against her six-month ban from the Knesset. Zoabi received the ban after making incendiary comments in which she appeared to justify the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers this past summer.

The abstentions by the two left-wing parties within the governing coalition were apparently part of a deal forged between them and the Arab parties, according to which they would support Zoabi's appeal in return for Arab MKs' votes for the controversial Conversion Bill which comes up for a vote later today.

Despite the move, however, Zoabi's appeal was rejected. 

Responding to news of the deal, Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) fired that "Hatnua long ago turned into the natural partner of (far-left party) Meretz."

"It is astonishing that (a party) which defines itself as a Zionist party divided its strength as such that (Hatnua MK Amram) Mitznah protects Hanin Zoabi (by voting for her appeal) and the rest of the party MKs give their quiet assent to that vote by not voting against."

"It is difficult to see how much further this party is able to deteriorate," Rabbi Ben-Dahan added. "Zoabi's place is not within the Knesset."

MK Yaakov Asher of the hareidi UTJ party echoed Ben-Dahan's criticism, condemning the deal to "save Zoabi in exchange for help with the Conversion Law."

"You have no shame!" he told Hatnua MK Elazar Stern - the Conversion Bill's key sponsor.