By a vote of 25 to 23, the Knesset passed on Wednesday a motion to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the Submarine Affair. However, Knesset Speaker MK Yariv Levin (Likud) immediately invalidated the vote, saying that it had been conducted improperly and that several Likud MKs did not vote, because coalition chairman Miki Zohar (Likud) had asked for a roll-call vote.
Other coalition MKs also said they were in the hall but did not vote because Deputy Speaker of the Knesset MK Mansour Abbas (Joint List), who chaired the session, did not announce the beginning of the [electronic] vote, as required. Speaker Levin then took over as chairman of the session and said that he too did not vote despite being present in the chamber, for two reasons. “One, because a request was made for a roll-call vote, and secondly, because there was no announcement [on the start of the electronic vote], or it was announced in a weak voice and was not heard,” he said.
“There was a clear request that was heard in advance to hold a roll-call vote, as requested by the chairman of the coalition,” Levin said. “I am canceling the results and declaring a roll-call vote.”
In the ensuing uproar, opposition MKs shouted “shame, shame” and then walked out of the hall.
MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), who initiated the vote, called the cancellation “a stain on Israeli democracy.”
A roll-call vote was then held, in which only members of Likud, Shas and United Torah Judaism MKs participated. The proposal to probe the submarines affair was then defeated 44 to 0. Members of the opposition refused to take part in the vote in protest of the cancellation of the electronic vote.