On 22 Kislev, the Knesset plenum rejected two provocative
anti-religious bills presented by the Shinui party. The laws,
whose purpose was to change the religious status quo, were
voted down by a large majority.
The first proposal sought to permit El Al Israel Airlines to
fly on Shabbos. This law was rejected by a majority of 45 to
10, with one abstention. The Government opposed the proposal,
and for that reason, the coalition mobilized forces to topple
the bill. Knesset members voting in the majority were from
the following parties: One Israel, Meretz, Center, Likud,
UTJ, Shas, Mafdal and the Ichud Haleumi.
The 10 Knesset members who supported the bill included those
from Shinui who were joined by Ilan Gila'on of Meretz and
Roni Milo from the Center party, who violated coalition
discipline with his vote. In addition, the law was also
supported by two Knesset members from the Likud: Gidon Ezra
and Meir Shetreet.
MK Gila'on said that he supported the bill because during the
middle of the week, Shas had voted for a decision calling
upon the High Court to refrain from deliberating on
ideological issues. He added that in light of the lack of
Shas' overall commitment to coalition interests, he doesn't
regard himself as beholden either to Shas nor to coalition
discipline in these matters.
The second proposal, presented in the Knesset by Shinui MK
Yossi Paritzki, sought to determine that the Chinuch Atzmai
and Maayan Hachinuch educational networks receive subsidies
only on condition that their institutions teach mathematics,
English, science, citizenship and physical education. The
proposed law was also to determine how many hours each week
would be devoted to these topics and in which grades they
would be studied.
Paritzki claimed that institutions of learning subsidized by
the state must include studies which will prepare the
students to work.
The Government and the coalition also opposed this law, and
it was rejected by a large majority. 37 Knesset members from
the coalition, the religious parties and the Likud opposed
it, while it was supported by only 7 Knesset members. The six
Shinui members, along with MK Roni Milo -- who this time also
voted against the coalition position -- opposed it. Two
Knesset members abstained.