In face of the recent spate of laws that purportedly coerce the secular public into observing religious law, self-declared secular Knesset members decided to organize a Secular Lobby for the plenum, whose job would be to develop legislation that advances the cause of secular Israelis. The first meeting of the lobby turned out to be somewhat disappointing to its organizers when only three of the Knesset’s 120 members showed up.
Among the secular “faithful” were Meretz MK Tamara Zandberg, chairperson of the lobby. She was joined by MKs Kesia Svetlana and Omer Bar-Lev of Zionist Camp. Not present were members of coalition parties, including Yisrael Beytenu – who opposed the recently-passed Supermarkets Bill, which authorizes the interior minister to intervene in cases where local stores are open on Shabbos. Neither did members of opposition party Yesh Atid attend, despite that party’s marked anti-chareidi tone.
If Zandberg was disappointed with the poor turnout, she did not give any indication to those in attendance, who included representatives of secularist organizations.
“For those who have decided to kill the status quo, we have news for you – we are in favor of killing it as well,” Zandberg said. “The secular public is not stupid. We want to make it clear – each time you persecute us, we will come out of the struggle stronger. The secular public is waking up.”
The meeting adjourned without a date for a second meeting, or an agenda for that meeting proposed or presented.