Various political factions are making conflicting predictions as to how Wednesday's Knesset vote to form parliamentary committees investigating left-wing organizations will turn out. The coalition, led by the Likud and Yisrael Beitenu, predict that the bill will not be passed. The Kadima-led opposition, however, believes that it will be a tight struggle and the result will be determined largely by a few key votes.
Coalition Chairman MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) is a supporter of the bill. He estimates that as a result of the voting freedom granted to Likud MKs by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, only 10 MKs will support the bill. Among the supporters are Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli-Yoel Edelstein and MK Yossi Peled, as well as ten other Likud MKs. In total, he estimates that 44 MKs will support the bill, including 15 Yisrael Beitenu MKs, 11 Shas MKs, five United Torah Judaism MKs and three National Union MKs.
Eight to 10 Likud MKs are expected to oppose the bill, led by Netanyahu and MKs Gideon Sa’ar, Michael Eitan, Benny Begin and Dan Meridor. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin is also expected to vote against the bill. Twenty-eight Kadima MKs are expected to vote against the bill as well as seven Labor MKs, four Meretz MKs and 11 MKs from Arab parties. This totals, 63 Knesset members who are expected to oppose the bill, giving opponents a majority in the 120-member Knesset.
These numbers, of course, are all based on estimates and previously publicized opinions. Thirteen MKs have not publicized their opinion at any point and some Knesset members may choose to abstain from voting. Thus the outcome of the vote remains somewhat unpredictable.
Last week Netanyahu officially announced that he opposes the establishment of parliamentary committees to investigate leftist NGOs. Close associates of Yisrael Beitenu Chairman and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman criticized Netanyahu's decision saying “the vote will expose the Likud’s hypocrisy.” They said the recent boycott law passed because of the prime minister’s support; yet the law to investigate the organizations that encourage these boycotts will not pass because of the lack of support by his Likud party. The associates added that Lieberman is not threatening the coalition, despite his disappointment.
“Lieberman claims that these investigative committees will save Israel from terrorist organizations,” Minister Michael Eitan said Tuesday night. “Maybe he can explain how a parliamentary committee with no authority to investigate, summon witnesses or bind witnesses to honest testimony could possibly conduct a better investigation than the police, the Israel Security Agency or the attorney general? What advantage does [MK] Fania Kirschenbaum have over [Minister of Public Security] Yitzhak Aharonovitch?”
If the Knesset approves the formation of the investigation committees, initiated by Yisrael Beitenu's Kirschenbaum and Likud MK Danny Danon, one committee is slated to investigate foreign funding from countries that support left-wing organizations that delegitimize and damage IDF soldiers. The other committee will investigate the involvement of foreign governments in funding left-wing organizations for land acquisitions.