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July 26, 2020 11:38 am

Likud Minister Threatens to Block All Non-Coronavirus-Related Legislation

avatar by JNS.org

A general view of the first session of the 22nd Israeli parliament (Knesset). The Israeli parliament was officially handed the difficult task of forming a coalition government, setting the clock for lawmakers to attempt to avert yet another election. Photo: Ilia Yefimovich / dpa via Reuters.

JNS.org – Israeli Cyber and National Digital Matters Minister David Amsalem (Likud) said on Friday that no laws would be passed in the Knesset this week other than those urgently needed to help the country deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Amsalem, who has veto power in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation that determines which bills get sent to the Knesset to be voted on, the move comes in response to the Blue and White Party’s support on Wednesday for an opposition bill seeking to ban gay conversion therapy.

“Following the breach of the [coalition] agreement regarding the ‘conversion-therapy bill,’ I informed [Justice] Minister Nissenkorn [of Blue and White] that I do not intend to pass laws to the Ministerial Committee this week, other than urgent laws related to the coronavirus,” tweeted Amsalem.

The Likud minister said that Blue and White’s support for the conversion therapy bill was a “particularly serious” violation, because “cooperation between parties in the coalition is built on trust, but when it is violated, it is difficult to continue working together. The case this week was particularly serious and harmed the working relationship between us.”

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Nissenkorn responded on Twitter: “Cooperation is indeed built on trust. Therefore, the Likud’s decision to violate coalition discipline in favor of violating the rule of law and investigating judges is puzzling. The decision to violate a coalition agreement regarding the budget, while the public is thirsty for economic certainty, is also puzzling.”

According to Israel’s Channel 12, senior members of Blue and White admitted that they had supported the conversion bill as a tit-for-tat move in response to the support by some members of Likud — on the orders of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — for a proposal earlier this month to form a parliamentary committee of inquiry into alleged conflicts of interest within the Supreme Court.

As for the budget, while the coalition agreement between Likud and Blue and White stipulates a two-year budget, Netanyahu has been pushing for one that only extends until the end of 2020, claiming that a two-year budget is unsuitable amid the uncertainty relating to the pandemic. Gantz is so far sticking to his guns, insisting on a two-year budget.

According to the terms of the coalition agreement, if no budget agreement is reached by Aug. 24, the Knesset will automatically be dissolved, sending the country back to elections.

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