Ministerial Meeting Slated for Sunday Canceled Due to Ongoing Feud in Israel's Coalition

With the Ministerial Committee for Legislation's meeting called off, the Knesset will unlikely be able to pass bills in the coming week

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu attend a weekly cabinet meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, June 14, 2020.
Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu attend a weekly cabinet meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, June 14, 2020.Credit: Sebastian Scheiner/Pool via REUTERS
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Likud and Kahol Lavan agreed to cancel a meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation scheduled for Sunday due to a dispute over the bills on the agenda.

The committee, which determines how the governing coalition will vote on various draft laws, has not met for a number of weeks due to the political disagreement between the two main coalition parties.

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The cancellation will prevent the Knesset from convening this week to vote on government bills.

The committee was scheduled to discuss two draft laws connected to the coronavirus crisis, but at the last minute Likud and Kahol Lavan both imposed vetoes on the other party's legislative proposals. According to committee members who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Likud announced that it would not honor its commitment to permit a vote on a bill sponsored by Kahol Lavan MK Meirav Cohen meant to stop a wave of telemarketing fraud against older Israelis and other vulnerable groups.

According to the preamble to the draft law, telemarketing scams targeting older adults have flourished during the pandemic. The bill calls for creating a database, similar to the National Do Not Call Registry in the United States, containing phone numbers of people who have asked not to be contacted by telemarketers, and to impose sanctions in the event that the list is violated.

Sources in the committee said that Likud clarified that the proposal does not concern dealing with the coronavirus and therefore should not be discussed.

In response, Kahol Lavan representatives announced that they would not allow a vote on a parallel proposal that Finance Minister Yisrael Katz sought to raise.

Katz's bill, the "Economic Efficiency Law," is intended to regulate the way in which health funds pay their debts to public hospitals.

Meanwhile, a cabinet meeting has been scheduled to be held on Tuesday, after being canceled three times within the past month.

The normally weekly cabinet meetings were halted about a month ago amid a coalition crisis over the government budget, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding that a two-year budget be passed, while Defense Minister Benny Gantz insisted on passing a one-year budget.

Last week, the Knesset passed legislation pushing the deadline for passing a budget to December.

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