The premature expiration of the 23rd Knesset came one key step closer to fruition on Wednesday, November 23, when MKs from the opposition and the coalition’s Blue & White members passed the preliminary draft of a bill to disperse Israel’s current parliament. Sixty-one lawmakers voted for the proposed bill and 54 voted against it.
This preliminary passage brings the country closer to a fourth round of elections in two years. To become law and actually disperse the parliament the bill must still pass twice in committee and and three times in the plenum. If the Knesset dissolution bill is not ultimately approved, the far-right government only has until December 23 to pass a 2020 budget or the government will fall and elections will automatically be scheduled for March 23, 2021.
“I call upon the Knesset to vote in favor of this bill, to disperse and let the people choose a government that genuinely cares about them,” said Joint List leader, Hadash MK Ayman Odeh. Odeh said his voters would ensure that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will leave office and end up in jail, due to his criminal indictments and racist policies.
However, the Joint List’s four-member from the Ra’am (United Arab List) Islamic party, led by MK Mansour Abbas, decided to not attend the vote, despite pressure from their Joint List colleagues to support the bill. The Ra’am faction decided sit out the vote amidst a warming of relations between its leader, Mansour Abbas, and Netanyahu. Before the Knesset discussion, many Joint List supporters posted detailed statements about why the bill must be supported strongly criticized Abbas.