Ben Gvir said threatening vote boycott unless given more influence over Gaza war

Illustrative: Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir at a vote in the Knesset plenum, December 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90/File)
Illustrative: Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (left) with head of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party MK Itamar Ben Gvir at a vote in the Knesset plenum, December 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90/File)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir has reportedly warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his party will not vote in favor of legislation pushed by the premier’s other coalition allies until the far-right minister is granted more power to steer policy on the war in Gaza.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, Ben Gvir told Netanyahu last night that until he, Ben Gvir, is included in the small group making the key decisions in the war, his Otzma Yehudit party doesn’t view itself as committed to coalition discipline.

This pertains only to bills sought by the ruling Likud’s other coalition partners, the report says. It comes after Otzma Yehudit’s objections played a key part in causing Netanyahu to remove the so-called “Rabbis Bill,” pushed by the Shas party, from the Knesset’s agenda.

Officials close to Netanyahu are now afraid Otzma Yehudit and Shas will launch a plenum boycott of each other’s bills, the report says, adding that neither party is denying it plans to do so. Netanyahu is reportedly taking next week as a test in this regard.

Meanwhile, Kan reports that the ruling Likud party is taking a hard stance against dissent among its ranks.

The first step to this effect, according to the network, has been to permanently oust Likud MKs Tally Gotliv and Moshe Saada from the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee due to their refusal to support the “Rabbis Bill.”

The coalition yesterday announced the replacement of the two lawmakers in the panel as part of efforts to pass the legislation, but the move hasn’t been reversed after the bill’s removal from the agenda, as a form of punishment to Gotliv and Saada and as deterrence to other MKs, Kan says.

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