Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
Israeli author and journalist Sayed Kashua on the roof of his house in Tira (archive).

First the good news: MK Gadeer Kamal-Mreeh’s bill to repeal the so-called Kaminitz Act was rejected by the Knesset after a heated and confrontational debate rife with accusations of racism and heckling. 56 voted against, 37 voted for, the bill—which we will explain shortly—died, may Allah have mercy on its soul.


The nasty part took place on the sidelines of the brouhaha, as MK Bezalel Smotrich was quick to tweet: “So Prime Minister Netanyahu was present in the plenum just before the vote to repeal the Kaminitz law but ran away during the vote itself and actually collaborated with the Islamic Movement and the Joint Arab List against Zionism and in favor of the Arab takeover of state lands. Frankly, this is unbelievable.”

Like we said, MK Mreeh (Blue&White) was aiming to kill one of the only tangible, long-term achievements of Netanyahu’s eleven years in office – The Kaminitz Act, which was enacted in 2017 and redefined the mode of enforcement against illegal construction in Israel which mainly takes place in the Arab sector, using a significant increase of the fines imposed on construction offenders and streamlining the legal proceedings against them.

The proof is in the baklava: since its enactment, law enforcement agencies have indicated a 50% reduction in the volume of illegal construction starts. And, naturally, over the past three years, the Joint Arab List has made it its primary target, next to the two-state solution and a Palestinian state, to repeal the Kaminitz Act.

MK Smotrich tweeted ahead of the vote:

“My sources tell me that there is a covert deal between Prime Minister Netanyahu and MK Mansour Abbas (head of the Ra’am faction in the Arab list – DI), according to which Likud members will flee the plenum to enable the opposition to kill the Kaminitz Act on behalf of all Arab municipalities in the country – with an anti-Zionist law that will fatally impair the enforcement against illegal construction in Arab municipalities. If God forbid they do that, it would be an unpardonable sin. The sale of Zionism in return for a political lentil stew.”

As you recall, our grandfather Jacob bought the right of the firstborn son from his brother Esau in exchange for a stew of red lentils.

Smotrich then tweeted:

“This story is simply unbelievable. I have no complaints to [Blue&White Justice Minister Avi] Nissenkorn. When there are no expectations there are no disappointments. But if Netanyahu allows this and sells the nation’s lands and Zionism to the Joint Arab List in exchange for a political lentil stew, it means that he no longer has any values ​​and that he will be willing to sell everything in exchange for his own personal and political survival.”

We didn’t call the Knesset commissary to verify, because they’re busy people, but you just know what their soup of the day was this Wednesday…

In response to Smotrich’s red-lentil alerts, Coalition Chairman MK Mickey Zohar (Likud) tweeted:

“It’s Smotrich’s fake news. Regarding MK Mreeh’s amendment to the Kaminitz Act, the Likud faction will vote against it like the rest of the coalition factions.”

Except for the prime minister, who, according to Smotrich, sneaked out just before the vote, possibly because he is in the early stages of a love affair with the head of the Southern Islamic Movement, Mansour Abbas, for whom he sees a great future as Likud’s token Arab.

Or maybe he was rushing to the phone to sign another peace deal with another Muslim country. We hear Chad is lovely this time of the year.


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