The government is not going to fall, and the legislation proposed by coalition MKs – including the Nationality Law – will eventually be passed by the Knesset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday to Likud MKs, hours before the Knesset’s summer session was scheduled to begin. “We continue to lead Israel in our path, the path of the Likud,” Netanyahu said. “We will maintain our strong advocacy for Israeli interests, protecting the national dignity and the truth of Israel.”
Among the laws Netanyahu intends to pass during the summer session is the Nationality Law, which was approved by the Ministerial Law Committee for legislation Sunday. The law, proposed by Likud MK Avi Dichter, was the matter of much debate over several years. It sets Hebrew as the official language of Israel, and sets the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people. Arabic has a “special status” as a minority language.
Netanyahu said that the law would be brought up for a vote within 60 days. “There is no contradiction between the Nationality Law and equal rights for all Israelis,” Netanyahu said, responding to criticism by leftist MKs who protested against the Committee’s approval of the law Sunday. “The law is designed to foil those who deny the deep connection between the Jewish nation and its land. I expect all Zionist parties to support it.” If the law by some chance is not passed during the Knesset summer session, it will be passed in the session after that, Netanyahu added.
Less optimistic about the prospects for the coalition’s survival were the heads of opposition parties. Speaking to Yesh Atid MKs, party head Yair Lapid said that he saw elections taking place within a year. Netanyahu’s economic program will not take off, and when it fails, the coalition will fall apart, Lapid said. “I do not see an alternative government forming. If and when the government falls we will be going to elections, and that is how it should be.”
Zionist Camp head Yitzchak Herzog, on the other hand, said that he believed an alternative government could be set up. “The prime minister’s stock in trade is sowing fear and division in the nation, and between Israel and the nations, and this is what he does all day. Our job as elected officials is to put the state before the party, the public good before personal benefits. As a result, I have been organizing an alternative coalition. None of us really have confidence in Netanyahu, and the government will eventually fall due to a no-confidence vote, as more and more MKs are becoming aware of the danger of keeping Netanyahu in office. We need to be ready for the day that he ends his term, and that day is near,” Herzog said.