Netanyahu Government Mulls Blocking All Opposition Bills in Response to Last Week’s Filibuster

The month-long move would come after the opposition failed to stymie legislation on preventing the police from making recommendations to prosecutors in criminal cases

Knesset members during the filibuster against the so-called police-muzzling bill, December 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

The governing coalition is considering punishing the opposition parties for their filibuster last week against the bill to keep the police from making recommendations to prosecutors in criminal cases – legislation designed to protect public officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is also unhappy with the High Court petition filed by the Yesh Atid party against the so-called police-muzzling bill, which passed into law despite the opposition’s efforts.

The coalition is discussing preventing any bills sponsored by opposition Knesset members from advancing through the legislative process over the next month.

Coalition Whip David Amsalem as well as Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin – who head the Ministerial Committee for Legislation – are expected to discuss the measure, said a source in the coalition.

On Thursday, bills sponsored by both coalition and opposition MKs were removed from the ministerial committee’s agenda, which left Zionist Union MKs wondering whether the punishment had already begun.

Shaked had informed opposition whip Merav Michaeli of her intentions to take such action, and Michaeli quickly tweeted about the matter.

“It’s a scandal that the government decides how the Knesset should act,” Michaeli said.

Sources close to Shaked and Levin said bills sponsored by both opposition and coalition MKs were removed from the ministerial committee’s agenda for technical reasons.

Either way, one bill removed from the committee’s agenda was an ethics code for cabinet ministers sponsored by MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union).

“The coalition is willing to not sleep and commit suicide over laws to defend corruption, but when it comes to social legislation, God forbid they should work overtime,” said MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union).