Knesset Stalls on Dispersion Vote as Bickering Over Election Date Continues


MK Nir Orbach leads a House Committee meeting at the Knesset, June 21. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The vote on the dispersal of the Knesset was stalling on Monday as the Knesset could not agree on a date for the next elections.

The Knesset House Committee was supposed to convene Monday morning to discuss 11 bills to disperse the Knesset, which passed in last week’s preliminary readings. The committee must approve the legislation before it is tabled for the first official reading, but the discussion has already been pushed off several times.

The committee is headed by rebel coalition MK Nir Orbach (Yamina), who has previously said he wants to delay the dissolution of the Knesset in order to allow the right-wing bloc to form an alternative government in the current Knesset without dissolving it, and thus avoid Israel’s fifth elections in under three years.

The coalition, however, wants to kick off the elections campaign as soon as possible, and will try to take advantage of its majority in the committee to transfer the discussion on the legislation to the Constitution, Law and Justice committee – bypassing Orbach.

If the bills to disperse the Knesset are approved, a date for the election day will be proposed, prior to its second and third reading in the plenum.

The opposition, still optimistic such a proposal can be avoided by forming a government in the upcoming days, demands the elections take place on Oct. 25. That date – 30 Tishrei – is the last day of the Tishrei bein hazmanim, which means that yeshivah students can easily access the voting ballots in their hometowns. MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni told opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu that as per the directive of Hagaon Harav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, this is the preferred date for the chareidi parties. The coalition, however, prefers Nov. 1 or 8 as a favorable date for the election.

If no agreement is reached by the end of Monday, the official dissolution of the Knesset is set to be postponed until Wednesday, and potentially as late as next week.

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