Knesset Postpones Vote Over Panels of Inquiry Into Leftist NGOs

Netanyahu frees Likud MKs from faction vote; four senior Likud members have already been given the right to oppose.

The Knesset plenum will not vote as planned next Monday on a motion to establish two panels of inquiry to probe left-wing organizations. As the date of the vote approaches, members of Likud have become increasingly opposed.

It is not yet clear whether the Knesset would be able to garner a majority vote to establish the panels. A Haaretz survey had found that the Knesset was split evenly – with slim majority of 61 lawmakers in favor and 59 opposed – but a number of MKs seem to be reconsidering their vote.

Dan Meridor, Benny Begin and Reuven Rivlin
David Bachar

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday acceded to a request by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar that Likud MKs be given the freedom to cast a personal vote, rather than being forced into a decision by the faction.

In response to the increasing expression of opposition, the Yisrael Beiteinu faction – which submitted the proposal – asked coalition chair Ze'ev Elkin to postpone the vote

Four senior Likud members have already voiced their opposition to the establishment of the panels – Reuven Rivlin, Dan Merido, Benny Begin and Michael Eitan. Those four had already been given special permission to vote against the motion, regardless of what the rest of the faction decides.

The other opponents include all 28 members of Kadima, eight members of Labor, five members of Ehud Barak's newly established Atzmaut party, four members of Hadash, four members of Ra'am-Ta'al, three members of Meretz and three members of Balad.

Knesset insiders predict that the final outcome will rest on the ability of both sides to mobilize their supporters to show up to cast their vote.

Earlier this month, the House Committee gave its preliminary authorization for the formation of the panels  through a 10-7 vote.