Plastic bag fee jump gets initial Knesset okay; Likud’s bill fails after internal fight

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

An environmentally-friendly bill to raise the price of single-use plastic shopping bags that had caused a rift in the opposition has failed to win Knesset approval, though a similar measure from a coalition lawmaker passes in preliminary reading.

The measure, from Likud’s Gila Gamliel, gets 22 yeas to 22 nays in the Knesset, keeping it from advancing. Ra’am MK Mansour Abbas says he intended to vote for it, but the system malfunctioned, and the tally stands.

A similar measure by Yesh Atid MK Yorai Lahav-Hertzano advances 23-22.

Haredi Shas party leader Aryeh Deri had earlier told Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu to reverse his party’s lack of opposition for Gamliel’s measure, threatening to no longer respect voting discipline among the opposition’s right-religious bloc, according to a report in Israel Hayom. Likud had initially allowed members to vote however they wanted on Gamliel’s measure.

Deri’s opposition to increased fees on single-use plastic shopping bags is in line with long-standing Haredi party positions against measures that could raise the cost of living for their constituencies.

Netanyahu asked Gamliel to pull the bill, which she refused, angering the former premier.

Netanyahu is caught on camera angrily lambasting Gamliel for her refusal, saying “because of this we won’t succeed in toppling the opposition.”

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