Supreme Court of Israel
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Opposition leaders in the Knesset pledged on Sunday to challenge a bill, recently passed by the Finance Committee ahead of votes by the full Knesset, in the Supreme Court, arguing that the proposed piece of legislation was rushed through, in contravention to Knesset regulations.

The law, proposed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), would tax owners of three or more housing units, in an effort to encourage owners to sell units and increase supply on the housing market.

The bill is the linchpin of Kahlon’s plans to reduce the purchasing price of homes in Israel. But critics say the tax would likely raise the cost of rent, while having only a marginal impact on the price of homes up for sale.

After a stormy committee session, the tax plan was given initial approval, after opposition MKs stormed out of the hearing in protest of the bill’s impending passage.

Since then, Finance Committee chair Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) has refused to hold additional hearings on the bill, or assent to Knesset legal advisor Eyal Yinon’s request for a revote.

Yinon criticized the way in which the hearings on the bill were conducted, saying MKs were not properly made aware of all of the law’s components – some of which were scrapped in committee.

"There have been serious flaws in the way this law was presented and passed," Yinon wrote.

On Sunday, members of the opposition threated to appeal to the Supreme Court if the law was passed by the full Knesset without Yinon’s criticisms being addressed.

“The coalition showed a whole new level of bullying to pass the budget,” said Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union). “Knesset Members were asked to vote on what was in effect a brand new version of the law, which had never been examined by the Knesset before, which had never been looked at in-depth before.”

“Despite the fact that the opposition MKs in the committee left the hearing in protest, and despite the clear position of the Knesset’s legal advisor, the Finance Committee chairman has acted as if there are no laws, as if the coalition is itself the law. If the Finance Committee chairman doesn’t understand how serious the situation is and doesn’t intend to correct it, we will have no choice but to turn to the Supreme Court to nullify the whole process.”

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