Knesset in session (archive)
Knesset in session (archive) Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The Knesset approved on Wednesday night the second and third readings of the bill that has come to be known as the Norwegian Law.

The bill allows one minister or deputy minister from each party to resign from the Knesset, paving the way for new MKs to enter.

According to the law, which passed its first reading last week, the new MKs who enter in place of the resigning ministers or deputy ministers will serve as MKs so long as the ministers they replaced are in office.

64 MKs voted in favor of the bill and 51 opposed it. The bill will go into effect immediately as a temporary order.

MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home), chairman of the Knesset’s Constitution Committee, introduced the bill before the vote and said, “In the Committee's discussions, an idea came from members of the opposition and was adopted by MK Benny Begin, which determines that the Norwegian Law be set as a temporary measure in the current Knesset. Despite the known problems with an amendment to a Basic Law as a temporary order, the Committee decided that the special circumstances of this case justify it.

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) denounced the bill and said, "Today we are dealing with the law which hands out some jobs to some party members. When you begin to change a Basic Law, you start that in the next Knesset and here they want to do it immediately. Constitutional changes are not done on a personal basis but through a thorough discussion of what is right and proper to do. And if there's one thing you do not do when you make a constitutional amendment, it is to make it temporary order.”

MK Dov Khenin (Joint List) condemned the idea as well, saying, "There is a new coalition, people require work arrangements and unfortunately some good friends were not elected to the Knesset, so what do we do? We change the rules of the game. Maybe in the next Knesset they will pass a Basic Law with a temporary order that says there will be 127 Knesset members. This law was produced in such a confused manner that it will generate problems for years to come.”

The bill was promoted by the Jewish Home and there were reports last week that the party’s chairman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, may resign from the Knesset once it is passed.

“I initiated the law and as such I should be the one to give up my Knesset seat, before others,” Bennett was quoted as telling colleagues in his Jewish Home party. “I will not ask others to resign on my behalf.”

If Bennett does resign, the next member of the Jewish Home list to take a seat in the Knesset would be Shuli Muallem, who would be making a return to the Knesset after serving in the previous one.

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