Coalition whip pulls all legislation from Knesset agenda today, blaming ‘irresponsible’ Otzma Yehudit

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Otzma Yehudi chief Itamar Ben Gvir (left) and Shas leader Aryeh Deri seen speaking separately in the Knesset in this composite image. (Flash90)
Otzma Yehudi chief Itamar Ben Gvir (left) and Shas leader Aryeh Deri seen speaking separately in the Knesset in this composite image. (Flash90)

In the wake of rising coalition tensions following the far-right Otzma Yehudit party’s tanking of a Shas-backed amendment to the Religious Services Law yesterday, coalition whip Ofir Katz (Likud) announces the withdrawal of all legislation from the Knesset plenum’s agenda today.

According to Hebrew-language reports, Katz informs Likud lawmakers that “due to the irresponsible behavior of Otzma Yehudit, no laws will be put on the agenda today.”

“I am not willing to rely on any party other than the coalition parties, and am not willing to manage [the coalition] according to the moods of its members. I hope that the situation in which the coalition is helping the opposition to hurt us will stop,” he writes.

Katz’s announcement comes after National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir entered into a bitter dispute with Aryeh Deri’s ultra-Orthodox Shas party on Monday evening, vowing not to vote with the coalition, as the escalating interparty bickering aggravated already strained relations between members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline coalition.

Ben Gvir, who has been angling for months for a greater say in the ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza, threatened to pull his support from a Shas-fronted bill on funding religious councils if he is not given a spot on the now-disbanded war cabinet or is involved in high-level discussions on war matters. The Shas bill was removed from a scheduled vote in the Knesset last night.

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