Coalition Finds Netanyahu Bill ‘Unseemly’

YERUSHALAYIM -

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s proposal to suspend Knesset members for “unseemly behavior” was met with objections from members of his own coalition on Tuesday, according to media reports.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked argued that existing law is sufficient to answer the problem raised by the Balad MKs who openly sympathize with Palestinian terrorists.

United Torah Judaism proposed amendments, notably deletion of the term “unseemly behavior,” a vague, catch-all that could be turned against any party or Knesset member of the government’s choosing, including chareidim.

While Shaked said she agreed in principle, the bill was “not the solution,” Walla news reported.

She cited clause 7A of the existing Basic Law as grounds to expel Balad from the Knesset. It states that lawmakers and factions are barred from elections if they are guilty of the “negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; incitement to racism; support of armed struggle, by a hostile state or a terrorist organization, against the State of Israel.”

Although the coalition on Monday approved the bill, the UTJ asked that the offending term “unseemly behavior” be stricken from it and replaced with the abovementioned language from 7A of the Basic Law. According to Haaretz, the coalition was amenable to the UTJ revision.

A first reading of the bill could be held within two weeks, but prospects for passage are highly uncertain.