Monday Jul 15, 2024
Monday Jul 15, 2024

Knesset Starts Wartime Winter Session.

2023 Oct 16, 18:55, Israel
Knesset lawmakers in Jerusalem congratulate each other after Israel's emergency unity government was sworn in. (Photo/ANI)

When the Knesset adjourned for its summer recess on July 30, Israelis were bitterly divided over judicial reform. Demonstrations and counter-demonstrations regularly drew thousands and reservists were threatening to show up for duty.

Two and a half months later, Israel is at war. The country is led by a unity government. And in the wake of a devastating Hamas attack on southern communities, reservists of all stripes quickly mobilised.

That changes the dynamic of the Israeli parliament's winter session, which begins on Monday.

Knesset members are still in "shock" from the Hamas attacks, former MK Rabbi Dov Lipman told the Tazpit Press Service. Lipman who is now the founder and CEO of Yad L'Olim, a non-profit organization that supports and advocates for immigrants, served in the Knesset from 2013-2015.

"They still can't believe this happened," he said.

Lipman predicted that the Knesset "will be one of unity and focused on the war alone."

The prediction of unity was echoed by MK Ohad Tal, of the Religious Zionist Party.

"Many of the members of the Knesset went to the hardest-hit places," Tal told TPS.

"I've seen the most horrific sights I've ever seen in my life. On the other hand, I've also seen remarkable acts of unity, of people from all over the country, from all Israeli sectors and parts of society that came to work together, to give whatever they can to support the soldiers and the people from around Gaza," he said.

In one sign that Tal said was encouraging, "All the members of Knesset opened up one WhatsApp group in which we're running everything," he said. "Who's going to which funeral, who's going to the families, to help the missing, the families of soldiers, and helping evacuees at the hotels and so on. We're all working together, coalition, opposition, zero politics, zero politics, zero egos, zero shtuyuot [nonsense]."

Looking ahead to the winter session, it will be mostly focus on supporting the government's war efforts and managing economic issues, Tal predicted.

"We still have problems we need to solve like the cost of living in Israel. But most of what we do will about supporting the government and the security forces in this war." he told TPS.

One issue the Knesset will eventually have to weigh in on is how the war will end, Tal noted.

"As I see it, it's not just about taking a heavy price from Hamas. It has to be more than that, it has to be something of clear victory over Hama," Tal said. "And different people and different parties will have different opinions about what will be the end result. I'm sure there will be a lot of questions that we disagree."

But he added, "The unity we're seeing today in such a high scale, I really hope it will continue. And I hope we can manage disagreements in this manner of unity."

Key figures crossing the aisle from the opposition to the government are Benny Gantz, Avigdor Liberman, Gideon Saar and Gadi Eisenkot. They will join a newly formed war cabinet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Gantz formerly served as Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff and was Defense Minister during the year-long rotational government under Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. Liberman and Saar served as Finance and Justice Ministers respectively in that government. All three will be sworn in as ministers without portfolio.

Eisenkot, who served as IDF Chief of Staff from 2015-2019, has never held a Cabinet position and will have observer status in the war cabinet along with Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer.

Lapid refused to join the unity government but said he would support it from outside the coalition.

Lapid argues said the coalition's governing structure is flawed, and he objects to the presence of "extremists" and to individuals he holds responsible for the "unpardonable failure" to prevent the Hamas attack.


Knesset Israelis judicial reform Israel is at war Israel-Hamas war Israeli parliament's winter session MK Rabbi Dov Lipman
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