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Israel’s untenable political dysfunctionality exposed in a ridiculous Knesset battle

18 6 29
26.05.2022

This Editor’s Note was sent out Wednesday in ToI’s weekly update email to members of the Times of Israel Community. To receive these Editor’s Notes as they’re released, join the ToI Community here.

A law allocating state funds for student scholarships for some Israeli army veterans was approved by the Knesset in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

This ought to have been a straightforward, widely consensual piece of legislation — the state taking over the funding of a much-needed initiative that was hitherto funded by private donations.

Instead, it became a major partisan battle that underlines how broken our politics has become, and how damaging this is for Israel.

In the lead-up to the vote, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that the legislation should be opposed — not on its merits, but because he is doing everything in his power to oust the coalition, including by opposing all government-initiated legislation in order to demonstrate that, having lost their parliamentary majority, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his allies can no longer effectively run the country.

Not everybody in Netanyahu’s opposition bloc was comfortable with that stance, being concerned that Likud, in this instance, was opposing a program that directly benefits soldiers when it ought to be fully supportive.

The low point of the saga came at a Likud faction meeting last week when, either unaware of or indifferent to the fact that she was being recorded, leading Likud MK Miri Regev declared that there was no room for queasiness if — in the cause of ousting the loathed, ostensibly dangerous coalition — her party and others in the opposition had to vote against legislation they would ordinarily support; no room for such queasiness, she specified, even if that greater goal meant voting against the interests of soldiers, people with disabilities, rape victims and battered women.

Belatedly recognizing the damage done and the potential for more, Netanyahu adjusted........

© The Times of Israel


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