A first attempt at cooperation among the Knesset’s opposition factions failed Monday, April 20, when the Joint List was unable to get the necessary 25 MKs to sign a petition calling for a special session of the Knesset to discuss the housing shortage in Arab towns. The Joint List sought to convene the special session of the Knesset, which will not otherwise meet until after a government is formed, in response to last week’s demolition of homes in Kafr Kanna in the Galilee and Dahamesh in central Israel.
All five Meretz MKs joined the Joint List’s 13 MKs in signing the petition. However, the Zionist Union faction chief, Eitan Cabel, refused to add his party to the petition and the MKs from Yesh Atid also refused to sign, leaving the motion short of seven signatures. MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash-Joint List) said Zionist Union’s refusal to sign the petition “proved that at the moment of truth, it wasn’t able to make courageous decisions and stand up against the policy of oppression and discrimination, and that it isn’t part of a fighting opposition against racist policies.” Also on Monday, five MKs from the Joint List met with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to discuss the housing demolitions, telling him it was impossible to reduce the scope of illegal building in Arab communities if steps weren’t taken to enable legal building on the necessary scale, primarily by approving the requisite master plans.
Immediately following last week’s house demolitions in Kafr Kanna and Dahamesh, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, the main Arab leadership body in Israel, called for a general strike in the Arab sector on April 28, to draw attention to their housing problems.