Israel's Coalition Stalls Knesset Votes Due to Clash With Islamist Party

For the second time this week the coalition held back bills from votes because of the United Arab List's refusal to support the legislation

Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel
 Leader of the United Arab List Mansour Abbas at a Knesset session in June
Leader of the United Arab List Mansour Abbas at a Knesset session in JuneCredit: Ariel Schalit /AP
Noa Shpigel
Noa Shpigel

The coalition on Wednesday held back bills from being voted on because they were not clearly supported by the opposition, the second time this week that the coalition did this due to the United Arab List’s refusal to support the legislation. UAL leader Mansour Abbas’s colleagues consented to vote with the coalition against opposition bills, but did not guarantee their support for bills authored by coalition members.

The bills advanced since Wednesday morning have to do with prohibiting the identification of terror casualties, both dead and injured, and the preferred status of the Druze sect in Israel. Both laws passed a preliminary vote, and will come next week before the relevant committees before a second and third vote. Members of the UAL voted alongside those of the Joint List in favor of establishing a new Arab municipality, but the bill was voted down.

The UAL is protesting their coalition partners' use of opposition votes to pass the Citizenship Law, and for their refusal to advance a UAL bill to give residents of unrecognized Negev Bedouin villages the same tax benefits as Bedouins in recognized regions receive. Despite not having the government’s backing, it is scheduled to come up for a vote on the Knesset floor. However, MK Iman Khatib-Yassin of UAL will pull the bill, and it will not be able to be brought up for a vote again for another six months, a tactic intended to throw a spanner in the coalition’s legislative agenda.

The coalition has a backlog of bills scheduled to be brought to vote by the end of the current Knesset session, in about a month. The delays this week may cause bills supported by the government not to come to vote before the Knesset breaks for recess.

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