Photo Credit: Hadas Parush / Flash 90
Likud faction whip MK Miki Zohar (archive).

Lawmakers in Knesset voted down a bill on Wednesday to apply Israeli sovereignty to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The coalition members in the government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett all voted against the measure’s first reading in the Knesset plenum, ensuring its failure.

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The bill, introduced by MK Miki Zohar (Likud) and cosponsor MK Shlomo Karhi (Likud, was defeated in a vote of 64 to 50.

Zohar slammed the Bennett coalition over the vote. “This bill will once again show and reveal who is ideological in this Knesset. . .and who is just an opportunist seeking positions for himself and his friends,” Zohar said.

“I heard MK Miki Zohar relating to the fact that in the previous administration, [then-Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu wanted to apply sovereignty (in Judea and Samaria) but the Blue and White party prevented him from doing it, responded former Likud member MK Gideon Sa’ar, who currently leads the New Hope party and serves as Justice Minister in the Bennett government.

“I was just thinking, ‘How far from the truth can you get?'” Sa’ar continued.

“The coalition agreement between the Likud and Blue and White — which I voted on together with you in the last Knesset — Netanyahu highlighted, justifiably, included a major concession that regardless of the specifics of their veto power, the one thing to be off limits was the issue of sovereignty. [It said [Netanyahu] could advance the sovereignty application in the Cabinet and for Knesset approval after July 1, 2020.

“The agreement also included a clause allowing the prime minister to advance the (sovereignty) bill to the Knesset as an individual MK’s bill as long as it came through a member of Likud.

“So you, MK Zohar — party whip for the Likud in the previous Knesset — could have introduced this bill during the last Netanyahu government and during the [US President Donald] Trump administration, during that amazing window of opportunity.

“You could have submitted the sovereignty bill at that time, and you would have had a majority in the Knesset,” Sa’ar pointed out.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.