Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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29 Kislev 5760 - December 8, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Knesset Rejects Two Shinui Anti-Religious Bills

by Eliezer Rauchberger

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.

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