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Gantz says all of coalition must vote for soldier scholarship bill

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid attend a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90)
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Minister of Defense Benny Gantz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid attend a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says he “will not accept any part of the coalition not voting” for a bill funding scholarships for IDF veterans, as a Knesset showdown over the legislation continues.

There is some speculation that the coalition’s Islamist Ra’am party could vote for the bill, giving the government the needed majority. Ra’am has shied away from the legislation due to its military connection.

The opposition Likud party has refused to sign the coalition’s version of the bill, demanding that it cover 100% of scholarship costs, instead of the two-thirds coverage it currently provides.

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli says, “We’re in a situation where there’s a better chance that this bill will pass with the help of Ra’am than Likud.”

Yesh Atid Knesset Member Merav Ben Ari tells Army Radio, “Anything can happen, and yet it’s Likud that needs to look at the soldiers. I hope they come around.”

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu says that Ra’am chief Mansour Abbas has “received 100% from Bennet and Lapid. Our fighters also deserve 100%.”

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