Likud Punishes MK Edelstein for Absence During Crucial Vote

Committee Chairman MK Yuli Edelstein leads a Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset, Monday. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

MK Yuli Edelstein will not be allowed to propose private bills, raise topics for discussion or speak in the Likud’s name in the Knesset plenum for the next three weeks due to his intentional absence from Monday night’s judicial reform vote, coalition whip and Likud faction head MK Ofir Katz announced on Tuesday.

Edelstein was absent from the Knesset plenum during the voting sessions – something that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had reportedly known about in advance – to protest the continuation of the legislative process without broad consensus. He was the only Likud MK to do so.

Despite his absence, the reform bill on judicial review, including the override clause, passed its first reading in the Knesset plenum after midnight on Monday.

The bill passed its first reading in a 61-52 vote. The law requires a full Knesset majority of 61 MKs (as opposed to a majority of MKs present) since it is an amendment to a Basic Law.

Edelstein’s absence was significant, as it gave the Likud a scare because if just one more MK would have been absent, the bill would have been toppled. Out of the coalition’s 64 MKs, Justice Minister Yariv Levin was also absent due to the passing of his father earlier this week, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant was absent for reasons related to his role.

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