Mansour Abbas
Mansour Abbas Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

The United Arab List (Ra'am) announced Wednesday afternoon that it would oppose MK Sharren Haskel's (New Hope) cannabis law.

"This is a religious matter, we can not exercise discretion on the issue," Ra'am officials told Arutz Sheva.

The bill would broadly decriminalize ownership of cannabis for recreational use,

While the coalition largely backs the legislation, the United Arab List has thus far refused to agree to support the bill, forcing the government to push off the preliminary vote in the Knesset plenum.

"Advancing the decriminalization bill appears in the coalition agreements. I hope all coalition factions, including Ra;am, will support the bill today," MK Haskel said ahead of the vote, adding: "I also call on the opposition to support it. Some have said for years that they support the move. It will be a test for the opposition to prove to their younger generation whether they will help pass the law or who have misled their supporters."

Earlier, a fierce debate erupted within the coalition government Wednesday over the vote on the bill. Knesset Speaker Idit Silman (Yamina) blasted plans to bring the bill to a vote without ensuring its passage in the Knesset – citing the recent failure of the government to pass the Citizenship Law.

“There is a limit to how much we can take. Things will fall apart if we don’t know how to compromise. I’m not prepared to bring a bill up for a vote that is liable to get voted down.”

Silman’s comments provoked an outcry from a number of coalition partners.

MK Evgeny Sova (Yisrael Beytenu) said that if the government’s behavior “continues like this, we’ll go to elections.”

MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) vowed that her party would no longer back the Citizenship Law in its present form.

“You’re trying to bring back the Citizenship Law, but we won’t back it unless it is changed. And if things continue like this, the whole thing is liable to come apart.”