MK Yoaz Hendel
MK Yoaz Hendelצילום: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (New Hope) has lashed out at the Likud party and also at the Religious Zionism party, for refusing to support the government in passing an extension to the law preventing unification of families where one spouse is an Arab citizen of Israel and the other is a resident of land controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The new government has just 61 MKs, and with the refusal of the United Arab List to vote for the law’s extension, it lacks a Knesset majority. Earlier on Thursday MK Mossi Raz of the far-left Meretz party announced that he, too, would be voting against the government as he could not support a “law that discriminates against Arab citizens of Israel … a law that views all Arab citizens as demographic and security threats.”

If the government had been hoping that Likud and Religious Zionism would come to their aid, they were sorely disappointed, even though the extension of the law is a clear right-wing priority. “We’re not here to put out your fires,” Likud MK Miki Zohar told Yamina MKs, adding that his party would only support the extension of the law if the government passed another law regulating the status of young settlements – an issue which clearly divides the right- and left-wing factions within the new coalition.

“This is the difference between Zionism and Bibi’ism,” accused MK Yoaz Hendel, a member of the coalition. “The Likud and Religious Zionism are getting stressed out – and rightly so. Anyone who flirts with the idea of voting together with the Balad party on anti-Zionist legislation deserves to be stressed out.”

Responding to Handel on Twitter was MK Galit Distal-Atbaryan (Likud), who wrote: “Yoaz, Yoaz, Yoaz, we aren’t stressed out at all. If you thought that we were going to come and rescue you from this radical left-wing government that you knowingly established, then think again. And this is the real difference between ‘Bibi’ism’ and your kind of Right – 53 seats against the electoral threshold. You cooked up a fiasco; now’s the time to eat it. Bon appetit.”

Meanwhile, Channel 12 is reporting that a compromise is likely to be worked out between the warring parties, according to which right-wing opposition parties will vote with the government to extend the law, but with the proviso that extensive meetings of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense committee will be held in the immediate future, in order to draft an alternative outline.