Another Parliamentary Rebellion, Joint List’s Minimum Wage Bill Passes 23-4

In another failure for the faltering government, opposition bill to raise the minimum wage passed preliminary readings in the Knesset on Wednesday as some coalition lawmakers broke ranks to vote in favor. The bill up sponsored by the Joint List, passed with a vote of 23-4. 

Lawmakers voted to advance legislation raising the minimum wage to NIS 40 ($12) an hour from NIS 29.12 ($8.70) an hour — a move opposed by most coalition parties.

Students in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem supporting the rise of the minimum wage to NIS 40 an hour (Photo: Standing Together)

There was tense infighting among coalition parties before the reading on how to handle the votes, with Ra’am defying coalition discipline and saying it would vote for the proposal from the opposition’s Joint List. The coalition’s Yesh Atid party refused to allow lawmakers to vote as they wanted and instead coalition MKs decided they would abstain from voting. However, Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar vetoed that idea and insisted that the lawmakers vote against the bill in line with the government’s position, according Zo Haderech report.

In a last-minute compromise, Labor and Meretz coalition parties walked out of the vote, allowing the bill to pass. Only Meretz rebel MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi voted in favor of the bill.  This is the second time the renegade lawmaker voted against her coalition’s wishes in three days after she also voted against renewing a bill extending legal protection to settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories on Monday.

After the Knesset advanced bills to significantly raise the minimum wage, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman says he’s stopping all discussions on the 2023 state budget, vowing that the budget will not include such “populist measures.” Liberman tells Channel 12 news: “Raising the minimum wage is pure populism. Everyone needs to be responsible for their actions. We will act in accordance with economic common sense.”