MKs Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), the co-chairmen of the Knesset Land of Israel Lobby, clashed with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday over a cabinet vote on a proposal to extend Israeli civil jurisdiction to Judea and Samaria.
Sunday morning, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that national security would have to take precedence on the Cabinet agenda following the downing of an F-16 on Shabbat.“Following the recent security incidents, a unanimous decision has been made to postpone the tabling of the Sovereignty Law in order to allow for the continuation of diplomatic discussions [surrounding the weekend’s events],” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
The heads of Coalition members agreed to Netanyahu’s suggestion to postpone the vote, prompting Kisch and Smotrich to voice their protest. They said the weekend’s incident was actually a reason to push for approving the law, not pushing off the vote.
“I believe that this is the best and most fitting time to table the Sovereignty Law,” said Kisch, adding that he would accept the position stated by the party heads. Nonetheless, he vowed to “continue to [push the issue forward], as it holds tremendous significance.”
MK Smotrich was more critical, writing on Twitter that “the events up north should have acted as a catalyst for the Sovereignty Law instead of an excuse to postpone it, unless some of the Coalition heads are interested in an Iranian presence inches from Ben Gurion Airport.
“In the Middle East, people can smell weakness and take advantage of it, while they can also identify strength and appreciate it. Establishing sovereignty is the right Zionist move, both morally and security-wise.”
Conversely, Labor Party MK Hilik Bar wrote on Twitter that the measure should not just be postponed, but rather taken off the table completely.
“The Sovereignty Law is a mistake and a complete and utter folly, which will go down in Israel’s and the Jewish people’s history as a historical blow to the continuation of the Zionist vision, as well as a tragic step towards the end of Israel’s democratic and Jewish rule,” Bar wrote, adding that the law is an “anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish and anti-democratic measure, which should not be postponed, but taken off the table indefinitely.”
By: Yona Schnitzer