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Israeli Parliament passes law to boost Netanyahu's emerging coalition

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Tel Aviv, Dec 21 (Ajit Weekly News) The Israeli parliament has passed a law intended to strengthen the emerging coalition of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of his looming deadline on Wednesday midnight to form a new government.

The so-called “anti-defection” bill, approved by 63-51 on Monday in the first session of the new Parliament, cancels a provision passed in 2021 that allowed four party members to break off into a separate party, reports Xinhua news agency.

Under the new law, party members who wish to break off must need the support of at least a third of their party members, making such a move almost impossible.

The new law has been widely perceived as a move to prevent lawmakers with Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party to split off, as the veteran leader has been struggling for more than a month to put together a new governing coalition after his bloc’s victory in November 1 elections by gaining 64 seats in the 120-seat Parliament.

Over the past few days, Netanyahu’s bloc has been stepping up efforts to pass bills that will enable the implementation of the agreements he signed with coalition partners in return for their support.

On Tuesday morning, Parliament was convened to discuss a bill that will expand the authorities of Itamar Ben-Gvir, the ultranationalist leader of the Jewish Power party, and is expected to vote on the bill in the evening in a first reading out of three ones needed for its final approval.

Ben-Gvir agreed to join Netanyahu’s government on condition of being appointed as Minister of National Security, a new post created specifically for him.

The bill, if passed, will give Ben-Gvir, who is known for his anti-Arab remarks and was convicted of support for a terrorist group and incitement to racism, greater power over the police activity and expanded control of the Border Police, a paramilitary unit that operates in the occupied West Bank.

In another controversial legislation, Netanyahu is pushing to cancel the ban on criminals convicted with a suspended prison sentence to serve as ministers.

Without the law, Aryeh Deri, the veteran leader of the Jewish ultra-Orthodox party of Shas, could not be appointed as minister in the new government because he was convicted of tax fraud with a 12-month suspended sentence in early 2022.

Ahead of the elections, Netanyahu’s political partners had announced plans to pass legislation to weaken the Supreme Court and cancel his ongoing trial over corruption charges.

–Ajit Weekly News


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