Shas and United Torah Judaism, due to unrelated disagreements between the coalition parties, blocked Yisrael Beytenu’s effort to throw Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi out of the Knesset.
In order to begin discussions of whether Zoabi’s call at the UN last week for millions of Palestinians to march on Jerusalem constitutes grounds for impeachment, Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer needed 70 MKs’ signatures, with 10 from the opposition. He was expected to face obstacles in the opposition, but he first bumped into one in the coalition.
The effort was “a populist move by Yisrael Beytenu” that had no chance, UTJ MK Uri Maklev told Kan Radio on Wednesday.
He said it was his party’s prerogative to decide who to help and who to work with, and UTJ does not have to help Yisrael Beytenu.
The remarks come after haredi parties and Yisrael Beytenu feuded over a bill on ultra-Orthodox conscription to the IDF last month, leading to a crisis that nearly brought about an early election.
Forer said: “We will not give up, and I’m sure all those who refuse to sign and the bleeding hearts who believe Zoabi has to be thrown out but are afraid and prefer to make old calculations that go against logic, their consciences and the will of the public, will sign in the end.”
Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay told Kan that “Zoabi is upsetting, but Yisrael Beytenu should deal with cleaning their party of corruption.
I despise the things she says, but I think people shouldout of deal with themselves and not others.”
Forer accused Gabbay of corruption himself: “Someone about whom it was reported that he bought his cabinet post and was under house arrest in a past scandal involving Bezeq [when Gabby was the telecom giant’s CEO] and it’s clear he won’t maintain his position and will be dismissed from his party before the next election, should stay calm and not show he’s stressed, and work to prevent his own ouster.”
Last week, Zoabi voiced support for the Hamas-backed demonstrations on the Gaza border in a speech to the UN Correspondents Association.
“We need to go on popular marches to remind the world of the siege [of Gaza],” Zoabi said. “We need millions of Palestinians to march on Jerusalem. That is the aspiration. But we can’t do it, because the Israelis would kill them.”
Zoabi also called Israel a “fascist country” that is “only looking for an excuse to kill the Palestinians.” She was suspended from the Knesset for a week last month for calling IDF soldiers murderers.
The impeachment law, which has never been used, requires 70 MKs’ signatures, with at least 10 from the opposition, in order to hold a hearing in the Knesset House Committee.
A final vote would be held in the plenum and could only pass with the approval of 90 MKs.