Israel's Coalition Doubts Rogue Lawmakers Will Resign, May Postpone West Bank Vote

Several sources believe failing to pass the West Bank law again due to resistance from coalition lawmakers will push Orbach to quit Bennett's government

Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov
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United Arab List chairman Mansour Abbas in the Knesset, on Monday.
United Arab List chairman Mansour Abbas in the Knesset, on Monday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov

Senior coalition officials estimated Saturday that chances were low that either of the rogue Knesset members, Mazen Ghanayin and Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, would resign. Talks with the two continued over the weekend and will continue over the next few days, but the coalition believes that they are unlikely to change course.

During an interview with Channel 12 News on Saturday, Meretz's Rinawie Zoabi said, “It’s not my role to save the left from Bibi.” United Arab List leader Mansour Abbas, speaking on the chances of United Arab List lawmaker Ghanayim resigning, said that he would not ask him to do so, just like Yamina lawmakers Silman and Chikli were not asked to resign after they left the coalition.

Meretz is still weighing the best option for taking action against Rinawie Zoabi. For now, negotiations with her continue, but the possibility of punitive measures against her are being considered, such as removing her as Deputy Knesset Speaker or from Knesset committees, as well as possible ejection from the party. Senior coalition members do not believe that such steps would be meaningful. “These are the sanctions of almond-milk-drinking leftists,” said one of them.

The coalition is deliberating whether to bring the extension of the regulation applying Israeli law to West Bank settlers for a second vote this week. In any case, the law will come up on Sunday at the ministerial committee for legislation, where it is expected to pass by a majority of votes, possibly unanimously. But for now, such a majority does not exist in the Knesset. The assessment is that bringing the law to a vote and its repeated failure due to coalition lawmakers will lead to the final departure of lawmaker Nir Orbach from Yamina. However, it’s unclear whether Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar will agree to postpone voting on this law.

Prime Minister Bennett will meet Orbach on Monday, following an earlier meeting they had. Orbach is expecting answers from Bennett by the middle of the week, said sources familiar with the content of their earlier meeting. Bennett will update Orbach regarding the efforts made to pass this law and will try to gauge Orbach’s position, close associates of Bennett say.

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