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Likud and Joint List MKs erupt in celebration... separately

Opposition bests coalition, passing bill to probe pitfalls in hiring Arab tutors

Vote sees Netanyahu ally with Joint List to back parliamentary commission of inquiry into hiring discrepancies that have left many Arab teachers without jobs

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture from video of opposition lawmaker celebrating the passing of a bill in the Knesset, October 20, 2021. (Channel 12 News)
Screen capture from video of opposition lawmaker celebrating the passing of a bill in the Knesset, October 20, 2021. (Channel 12 News)

Opposition parties scored their first victory over the coalition since the start of the winter session of parliament on Wednesday, passing a bill to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry into hiring discrepancies between Jewish and Arab teachers in the education system.

The vote saw opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu ally with lawmakers from the predominantly Arab Joint List party, whom he has often branded as “terror supporters.”

Members of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, long-time allies of the Likud leader, also backed the bill proposed by Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi, which passed with 47 votes in favor and 46 against.

The legislation notes that while teachers in Jewish schools are hired following an interview process, instructors in Arab schools are simply placed based on their ranking on the Education Ministry’s waiting list. This has led to large numbers of Arab teachers who have been unable to find work. The bill says the commission of inquiry will examine why the different methods of placement are used and offer recommendations for how best to move forward.

As the results of the vote were announced, Likud and Joint List lawmakers erupted in celebration, albeit in separate groups that did not appear to acknowledge one another.

The government, which has the slimmest possible majority in the 120-seat Knesset, faces a major challenge in the coming weeks as it must pass the state budget by a November 14 deadline. Failure to do so will automatically trigger elections. The budget passed a first reading last month, but many opposition lawmakers skipped the vote.

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