Government Coalition Pulls Bills From Knesset Agenda After Opposition Blocks Amendment

Opposition strikes down amendment to land registration law after supporting it in preliminary votes, leading coalition to fear lack of majority in future proposals

Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett in the Knesset, November 19, 2018
Olivier Fittousi

The government coalition pulled several government-sponsored bills from the Knesset’s agenda Monday night, fearing they would not have the neccesary majority to pass.

The decision came after the opposition struck down a bill during its third and final vote on Monday. It initially announced that it would support the bill, and did so during the second of the three required votes. It then voted against the bill in the final vote.

Earlier Monday, the coalition also lost four no-confidence motions sponsored by opposition MKs after it decided to boycott the votes due to a procedural dispute with the opposition. But a no-confidence motion can only topple the government if it’s supported by 61 MKs, and none of Monday’s motions passed the threshold.

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The defeated bill, a minor amendment to the land registration and planning and building laws that sought to define a new type of lot, passed its second vote 27-14. But when the opposition MKs suddenly switched sides in the third vote, it was defeated 47-42.

Since Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party quit the government last week, the coalition now commands only 61 of the Knesset’s 120 members. This means that even a single missing or defiant MK can potentially result in losing a vote.

“A government of 61 is a joy for the opposition,” said opposition whip Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) after the vote. “The bill the government was defeated on now is just a promo” of what's to come, he said. 

"Welcome to your 61 coalition, best of luck," said opposition leader Tzipi Livni. The move was led, amongst others, by MK Ofer Shelach of Yesh Atid, who said "this rickety coalition will fail. It won't pass its wicked laws, and will suffer one defeat after the other."

Knesset Interior Committee chairman Yoav Kish (Likud), whose committee had prepared the bill, said the the bill “was a strictly professional issue that we worked on together, both coalition and opposition,” he said.

“Yoel Hasson, you’re a liar, and you’re making other people lie for you. There’s a limit to hypocrisy, and behavior on this level I’ve never seen before in the Knesset.”