MK Adi Kol (Yesh Atid) on Wednesday was suspended by her party from membership on Knesset committees and from proposing laws until further notice after she abstained from voting on the so-called governability law, a move judged by some as harsh and heavy-handed.
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A few minutes after the vote on the bill that would make several changes in the system of government, including raising the electoral threshold from two to four percent, Kol was forced to apologize publicly for violating coalition discipline.
“Today I abstained from voting on the governability law, she said in a statement. “That was a decision that harmed mainly members of my faction and I apologize.”
Kol has been known as one of the leading opponents of the law, which was sponsored by former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party and also championed by Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid. The sanctions brought against her were criticized by opposition MKs, including MK Yitzhak Cohen (Shas), who said in a Knesset speech: “In Yesh Atid they did to Adi Kol what is done to some members of parliament in North Korea.”
In the hours preceding the Knesset vote, various MKs were lobbied by the law’s opponents. A Facebook page featuring the phone numbers of several MKs, including Kol’s, was created, urging users to contact them and voice their reservations.
"In a few hours from now there will be a vote on the scandalous governability law,” the page read. “At the moment we need only four MKs to block one of the most dangerous laws ever seen here."
At the conclusion of a stormy debate the law passed first reading. Originally formulated by Yisrael Beitenu, it won Yesh Atid’s support after Lapid’s party withdrew a competing version they had submitted. Many opposition MKs used their allocated three minutes and remained silent on the podium in protest against the law, which is seen as targeting mainly Arab parties.
In response to the sanctions against MK Kol, opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich and Labor Party Chairman Isaac Herzog said their party would let Kol use their private bills quota. “The Labor faction will allocate to MK Kol, whenever she so desires, a quota of private bills in order to help her to bring her world view to parliamentary and public expression,” they said. “We will honor any request by MK Kol because we respect her world view and object to the attempt to silence her."