The Likud party on Wednesday voted against a bill submitted by one of its own lawmakers, following the refusal of ultra-Orthodox factions allied against legislation that sought to make Israeli consumers pay for plastic bags in all stores. country stores.
MK Gila Gamliel disobeyed party chairman Benjamin Netanyahu by putting her bill to a vote, and he reportedly fumed at her when she refused to back down.
Coalition lawmakers rallied in support of his legislation, but the bill still failed to gain the necessary majority after MP Ra’am Mansour Abbas accidentally voted against it, leading to a 22- 22.
Knesset Deputy Speaker Zvi Hauser of the New Hope party, which led the Knesset session, initially agreed to Abbas’ request to change his vote to show he was in favor of the bill. But Likud protested and, on the advice of the Knesset’s legal adviser, the vote was rejected.
Meanwhile, two similar bills introduced by coalition lawmakers have passed their first reading in the Knesset and will go through relevant committees to be prepared for final votes.
A law passed in 2016 requires customers to pay 10 agorot ($0.03) per plastic bag in supermarkets. Legislation also prohibits the distribution of certain types of polymer bags.
Under a bill introduced by MK Yorai Lahav-Hertzano of the coalition’s Yesh Atid party and a related bill by Meretz MK Michal Rozen, all businesses – not just supermarket chains – would be required to charge 10 agorot per bag.
Netanyahu initially granted members of his Likud party the freedom to vote according to their conscience on bills, but backtracked on Wednesday amid threats from ultra-Orthodox lawmakers that they would start doing the same on legislation that could be important for Likud.
“Let’s be clear, if Likud grants a free vote… United Torah Judaism members will see it as official permission to vote on every law that will be presented in accordance with their practical considerations and not Likud’s instructions,” the official said on Wednesday. deputy of the UTJ Yaakov Eichler. , arguing that plastic bag legislation would disproportionately harm the poor and families with many children.
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri conveyed a similar message to Netanyahu, according to Israeli media. Shas and UTJ are both part of a Likud-led opposition bloc that also includes the far-right Religious Zionism party.
Gamliel’s decision to introduce a bill similar to those of the coalition, after Netanyahu decided that Likud would vote against the latter two, infuriated the party chairman.
A video from the Knesset plenum showed him furious with Gamliel, a former environmental protection minister.
“It disentangles the opposition. Why do we need this law? Netanyahu was quoted by the Kan public broadcaster.
Figures from the Department for the Environment show that since the tax was introduced in 2016, there has been an 80% drop in the use of disposable plastic bags.
Similarly, grocery stores bought 78% fewer bags in 2017 and 72% in 2020, according to ministry figures.