At ten o’clock Tuesday morning, the Committee for Knesset Reforms opened what promised to be a stormy meeting discussing the government’s proposed reforms to the State kashrut system. Instead of arguing about the content of the legislation, however, those present ended up in a row over the decision of the Committee head, MK Yulia Malinovsky of the Yisrael Beytenu party, to reject all discussion of the Likud party’s reservations to the draft bill.
Malinovsky opened the meeting at ten o’clock with, “First of all the reservations of the Likud party – who is going to present them? No one? I reject all your reservations, good morning everyone…”
A minute later, Likud MK Shlomo Karhi entered the room only to be told that he was “too late” and that his party would not be permitted to present its reservations.
“This meeting began at ten zero zero,” Malinovsky explained, “and there were no Likud members present, and therefore their objections to the legislation are being rejected for discussion.”
Karhi decried Malinovsky’s decision but Malinovsky claimed that the committee’s legal advisor had authorized her to reject the Likud’s reservations due to their tardiness.
“Have you all gone mad?” Karhi responded. “We won’t allow you to trample on the Knesset – you can’t do that just because of a delay of one minute!”
He added that on his way to the meeting, he had received “threatening phone calls from the office of Finance Minister Liberman,” warning him of the consequences if he did not remove his objections to the legislation to be discussed in that committee meeting.
Likud MK Yoav Kish also decried the “dictatorial behavior” of Malinovsky. “Is this the way they do things in Yisrael Beytenu?” he shouted. “Are you sane? What are you doing here? This isn’t the way you behave in the Israeli Knesset. We arrived one minute late and you decide to exploit your power [as committee chair] to disregard the opinion of your own committee’s legal adviser? … Do you have no shame?”
In fact, despite Malinovsky’s claim that her decision to reject the Likud party’s reservations enjoyed the support of the legal adviser, when asked by MK Karhi, the adviser admitted that Karhi was right and he consented to Karhi’s demand to hold a discussion on the party’s reservations.