Not looking so happy today...
Not looking so happy today...Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

MKs from the opposition parties are celebrating yet another defeat for the government, after the Jewish Judges bill failed to pass in its third reading on Thursday morning.

“This is a sweet victory but a momentary one, as the government has yet to collapse entirely,” said MK Meir Porush of the United Torah Judaism party. “All the same, it’s clear that the blows we are dealing the coalition are shaking it to its foundations and if we continue this way, we will overthrow the government entirely.”

MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) attributed the defeat to the government’s lack of siyatta diShmaya (Divine assistance). “I keep saying that this government, that was established with deceit and with coalition agreements that have no semblance of connection to religion in them, will have no siyatta diShmaya. We are seeing that in its failure to deal with the coronavirus, and now again with this failed bill.”

MK Aryeh Deri, the head of the Shas party, said: “When we are guided only by truth and extend ourselves to the utmost, G-d helps us from Above. I am so proud of the MKs of Shas, who waged battle day and night against all the odds, in order to overthrow this damaging Jewish Judges bill. In the end, we merited special siyatta diShmaya.

“This morning,” he added, “I turn to the members of this destructive government, a government that is disconnected from the people, and I say to them: What else needs to happen for you to understand that there is a Creator Who runs the world and Who intervenes in affairs in order to thwart the passage of destructive laws like this one? We will continue to fight you with all our might in order to return the State to the correct path,” he concluded.

MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) was more specific about the damage the new legislation would have wrought: “This legislation would have been highly destructive in upsetting the delicate balance between the government and the Knesset, and also between the coalition and the opposition, and it is a very good thing that it did not pass,” he said.

“During the discussions on the bill, I presented many reservations, and since there was no serious debate on the bill’s provisions, serious legal difficulties have been raised, such that even the Knesset’s legal advisers to the committees concerned pointed out the problems with both the law’s provisions and the Knesset procedures.”

Maklev added that, “In a one-sided show of force, this legislation would have deprived half of the population from selecting its representatives. It would also have upset the balance – long agreed-upon – between the committee’s representatives from the Torah world and those from the world of politics, when they appoint religious judges to the country’s religious courts. This bill would have, for the first time, enabled the committee to appoint religious judges who are not worthy of the appointment, leading to a loss of confidence in the rabbinic courts and the erosion of their status in the eyes of the public.”

MK Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) attributed the government’s defeat to “yet another example of cooperation between the opposition parties. Once again, we have shown that this Reform government that has declared war against Judaism and everything holy has no right to exist and no Divine assistance. This unholy alliance of Bennett, Lapid, Liberman, and Sa’ar has no majority in the Knesset. With G-d’s help we will overthrow the government – and soon.”

MK Moshe Arbel (Shas) chose to personally thank the Knesset Speaker, who in error voted against the bill, leading to its defeat (with 51 MKs in favor and 51 opposing). “I congratulate the Knesset Speaker, Mickey Levy, who did not authorize himself to alter his vote after having announced it,” he said. “Despite our differences of opinion, the observance of the rules of the Knesset are essential to Israeli democracy and the functioning of the Knesset.”

The Likud party also added its voice to those rejoicing today. The chairman of the party, MK Yariv Levin, said, “This is an unprecedented achievement. Just a month has passed since this fraudulent government was established, and time after time we are succeeding in defeating it in Knesset votes. We will continue to attack this evil government as forcefully as we can, until it collapses.”