One would think that mass protests, which go into the thousands three times a week and end each time with dozens of arrests, a financial crisis that leaves almost a quarter of Israelis unemployed, and an increasing increase in cases of coronavirus would be enough for a country.
Due to a controversial bill introduced last week in the 4besnews Knesset, it seems that Jerusalem is getting closer and closer to another round of elections.On Wednesday (July 22), the stability of the governing coalition was shaken by a bill to ban homosexual conversion therapy. The bill was initiated by the deputies Nitzan Horowitz and MeravMichaeli and legally prohibits any kind of conversion therapy carried out by psychologists.
According to the draft law, F9news professionals who carry out conversion therapy must expect heavy fines and must also fear losing their license. Despite the noise that the bill caused, it was only successful in the first reading with a majority of 42 yes and 36 no votes. Immediately after the vote, one could see from the upper level of the Knesset plenum the deputies of the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party shouting in the direction of the blue and white party members who were part of the coalition but voted
for the bill. Dudi Amsalem (Likud) accused the blue-white party of violating the coalition agreement by pushing the legislation without prior consultation with the coalition parties. Justice Minister AviNissenkorn (Blue-White) assured that Prime Minister Netanyahu had been informed in advance. Interestingly, many of the Likud deputies were absent during the vote in the Knesset. Amir Ohana, the Minister of Public Security, who also belongs to the party and is himself homosexual, voted in favor of the bill. What is even more shocking is that in reaction to the Conversion Therapy Law, members of the coalition have threatened to present laws that will not please the Blue and White Party. After the storm that broke out in the Knesset, MP Moshe Gafni (UTJ) announced to the Speaker of the Knesset, Yariv Levin (Likud), that he intended to put several bills to the vote, including the “abrogation clause” and the law prohibiting the use of chametz (unleavened bread) in hospitals during the Passover days. These are laws that are difficult for blue and white to support because of the strong opposition traditionally expressed by their center-left base.
However, this is not the only challenge that has recently undermined this coalition. The biggest discrepancy between Prime Minister Netanyahu and his potential successor for the second stage of the rotation, Benny Gantz, is how the state budget should be passed. Netanyahu is pushing for a short-term two-month budget, while Gantz insists on a long-term two-year budget and assures that it will ensure government stability. The two have not yet reached agreement, but it is possible that Gantz will compromise to remove any reason that would allow Netanyahu to call new elections, which he is likely to win according to the latest polls. The dissolution of the Knesset and the renewed postponement of Israel to elections in the midst of a crushing financial and health crisis would be catastrophic for the Jewish state. Although the joint coalition was originally intended as a unifying solution to the Corona crisis, it has only proved highly dysfunctional and has only made the situation worse at a time when the Israelis need it most.