With just weeks to go before the state budget must pass if the government is to survive, yet another threat to the stability of the coalition has emerged, again from its left-wing parties, already furious at the decision to go ahead with the reestablishment of the Samarian town of Evyatar as well as last week’s decision by Defense Minister Benny Gantz to declare six “humanitarian” organizations to be terrorist entities due to their affiliation with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Now Kan News reports another bombshell thrown into the government ranks – MK Aida Touma Suleiman of the United Arab List (UAL) is about to introduce legislation that would make learning about the massacre that allegedly took place in Kafr Qassam in 1956 part of the regular school curriculum. The UAL and Meretz coalition parties have already indicated that they will promote this bill with all the parliamentary influence they can muster.
Meanwhile, both Yamina and New Hope may be expected to oppose the legislation, and they could also be joined by Benny Gantz’s Blue & White party.
“I am a survivor of the massacre in Kafr Qassam,” said Minister Issawi Frej (Meretz). “My grandfather and father were both injured there, and several of my relatives lost their lives. When I entered politics, my political leanings were strongly influenced by that incident. School children should be taught what happened there so that such mistakes don’t happen again – and I consider this to be more important than any other political decision.
“I support this proposal of Aida Touma Suleiman with all my heart,” he added. “This is legislation that I myself would have proposed in the past, and it must be passed, so that we learn from this and don’t repeat such deeds in the future. What we are asking is that our children should be taught what 'manifestly illegal commands' are, and how to preserve our inherent humanity,” he said.
Frej, as a minister under the Norwegian Law, is not an MK, but he said that he anticipates the full support of his party for this legislation. “I am doing what I can, and will continue to do so, via discussions with Aida, regarding this law,” he said. “In my opinion, this legislation is not something that should decide the fate of any government – it shouldn’t be a matter of right versus left. It’s a social issue of the first rank of importance. Meretz cannot oppose a law like this.”
In fact, Frej appears certain that the issue will not cause the coalition to split. “This isn’t going to break the government,” he said. “If you vote in favor of this law, it doesn’t mean that you are voting no-confidence in the government. Admittedly it’s a difficult subject to raise in the government, but we can’t be expected to hold a fire-sale of all our values.”
On the other hand, Frej expressed the concern that the issue of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria could prove fatal for the coalition. “We are against building in the settlements, and what is happening now is not right. Meretz cannot agree to such moves. We have a clear political-state agenda, and construction that harms Palestinian territorial continuity must not be permitted to go ahead; if it does, Meretz will not remain in the coalition. We can never agree to anything like that.”