Likud Lawmaker Suspended From Knesset Committee After Voting Against Outpost Legalization Bill

Coalition Chairman David Bitan, who favors a policy of penalizing rebellious lawmakers, bans Benny Begin from the Knesset Legislative Committee for three weeks.

Lawmaker Benny Begin in the Knesset, Jerusalem, Israel, August 16, 2016.
Emil Salman

Coalition Chairman David Bitan suspended on Tuesday Benny Begin from the Knesset Legislative Committee for three weeks as punishment for voting against the so-called outpost legalization bill, a controversial proposal to expropriate private Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Although Bitan favors a policy of penalizing rebellious lawmakers who oppose the coalition, he forgave Begin when he voted against the bill two weeks ago.

But his view changed this time after lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) voted last week in favor of the Galilee bill – which the coalition opposes – in protest over the Regulation Bill’s lack of advancement. Bitan demanded that Habayit Hayehudi penalize Smotrich, but the party refused, arguing that Begin was not punished for going against the coalition.

When Begin however voted against the Regulation Bill a second time, Bitan decided it was time for punishment. Begin will be replaced during votes by another Likud lawmaker but will be allowed to take part in discussions like any other Knesset member.

In fact, Bitan's punishment has no real meaning, since Begin is not a member of the joint committee with the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee regarding the bill to appropriate Palestinian lands, which was deliberately formed so that he would not be a member of it.