Due to the ongoing rift between Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and coalition chairman David Bitan, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday postponed voting on most bills proposed for the cabinet’s support for the second consecutive week.
Sources close to Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) said that, before the weekly meeting, Bitan (Likud) expressed discontent with one of Shaked’s advisers who, he claimed, “hung the phone up on him.”
The source added that Bitan demanded the adviser be dismissed from his post as coordinator between the committee and the coalition.
During the meeting on Sunday, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) who also is the coordinator between the cabinet and the Knesset, decided to veto all votes on private member’s bills (which account for most of the legislation discussed by the ministerial committee) despite an understanding between the coalition and Shaked’s office that voting would happen on Sunday.
The source said the Likud runs over everything that comes in its way and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unable to control his people, especially Bitan.
In response to the allegations, Bitan said his arguments with Shaked are in order to promote social legislation for the poor and to oppose what he sees as an offensive by the cabinet against the power of the Knesset.
Bitan added that the proper solution to the situation is an agreement on a framework for work between the coalition and the Committee for Legislation.
“I will not let the justice minister, as the chairwoman of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, harm the Likud, United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beytenu and Shas,” Bitan said in a statement. “It is a fundamental argument on the status of the Knesset against the ministerial committee. We should have an agreed-upon procedure of work between the two bodies.”
Bitan also addressed the fact that bills are being delayed due to the conflict.
“No damage will be done to social legislation,” he said. “Even if voting on a bill is delayed for a week or so, nothing will happen.
Voting on the bill to extend parental leave by one week, for instance, will not happen until the end of this [Knesset] session anyway. If it has waited 68 years, it can wait until we can find the proper framework that will allow us to pass dozens of social bills that the Justice Ministry prevents us from passing for different reasons.”
Regarding the allegations by Shaked’s advisers, Bitan said he has issues with them but they are not the primary problem and will be dealt with when the other matters are discussed.
Last week, the committee halted its decisions due to a threat by Bitan to whip votes for a bill to which the cabinet objected. Shaked then responded by saying Bitan’s moves were destabilizing the delicate relationship between the executive and legislative branches.