Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel SmotrichYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation rejected a bill Sunday which would apply Israeli sovereignty over large swaths of Judea and Samaria.

The committee, which has the power to confer coalition backing for Knesset bills and fast track them in the Knesset plenum, rejected the Sovereignty Law proposed by lawmakers from the Religious Zionist Party.

The Religious Zionist Party blasted the committee’s decision in a statement Sunday afternoon.

“A government with the Islamic Movement which relies on the Joint Arab List cannot even pass the Judea and Samaria Law – and now even shoves away the open hand the Opposition is offering.”

“Bennett, Sa’ar, and Lapid are holding on desperately to a bad gamble that is now dragging Israel to total chaos. The people of Israel deserve a Jewish, Zionist government, and we will establish one soon.”

The bill was submitted to the committee last week by Religious Zionist Party chief MK Bezalel Smotrich and MK Orit Strook (Religious Zionist Party) in response to the ongoing deadlock in the Knesset over the Judea and Samaria Law.

Religious Zionist Party MKs proposed the Sovereignty Law as an alternative, eliminating the need for the Judea and Samaria Law.

The Judea and Samaria Law, a temporary measure extended by the Knesset every five years, enforces Israeli law in Area C of Judea and Samaria via the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration. The law serves as a means of applying Israeli law in the area, without the extension of fully sovereignty.

While previous governments passed the extension of the law without issue, the Opposition has vowed to vote against the law, seeking to deal the Bennett government an embarrassing blow.

In a bid to further divide the Bennett government, Religious Zionist Party MKs drafted the bill, in the hopes that right-wing coalition members would back it, leading to a confrontation with left-wing coalition partners.

“We listened patiently to Bennett and Liberman’s talk of the government’s right-wing bona fides, and how this government is doing more than any previous government did to promote nationalist values and to benefit Judea and Samaria,” Religious Zionist Party officials told Israel National News.

“We also see how this coalition is struggling, due to internal division, to pass the Judea and Samaria Law.”