Knesset plenum
Knesset plenum Danny Shemtov, Knesset spokesman

The new unity government is in the process of trying to resolve its first significant challenge: passing the law extending the legislation limiting family reunifications.

One of the possible solutions being considered by coalition chairman Idit Silman (Yamina), according to the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, is that of changing the composition of the Knesset’s Regulatory committee, in order to ensure a majority to pass the law. Once the law passes that hurdle, it would proceed to the temporary Foreign Affairs and Defense committee, and then to the full Knesset plenum for a vote.

The final stage will also likely present a challenge for the government, as it will lack the four votes supplied by the United Arab List in favor of the law’s extension, but the coalition is counting on the likelihood that despite threats issued by opposition party Likud, its MKs will, at the end of the day, content themselves with abstaining from the vote and leaving the chamber, rather than actually voting against the law’s extension.

The new government is expected to make a number of significant decisions this week. The ministers of Defense and Finance, Benny Gantz and Avigdor Liberman, will be submitting a proposal to establish a state commission of inquiry into the Meron tragedy. According to the language of the proposal submitted to the Knesset secretariat, the commission will be charged with investigating broad safety issues at the site including the chain of decision-making during this year’s Lag b’Omer festival that contributed to the disaster.

A current or former Supreme Court judge is expected to chair the commission, although this is not actually a requirement – a district court judge would suffice according to the letter of the law.

Speaking on the issue, Defense Minister Gantz said: “This was a disaster that could have and should have been averted, and we are obligated to learn the right lessons on a national level. No commission can restore the lives of the 45 people killed, nor can it remove the physical and emotional scars of the hundreds of people affected, but what we can do is prevent the next deaths in the next disaster. Only a state commission of inquiry that is not subordinate to any political official can adequately investigate what happened, and I, personally, along with the other members of the government, will ensure that this is what happens.”