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Extension of settler law breezes through Knesset after toppling previous government

The Knesset approved the first reading of a bill extending Israeli law over the settlements of Judea and Samaria, the same bill which contributed to taking down the previous government over the summer. 

The bill, which allows the state to impose criminal and civil law to Israelis living in settlements in Judea and Samaria, must be renewed every five years. The law was enacted after the Six-Day War in 1967 as an “emergency measure.” It was last extended in 2017. 

In June, the previous coalition government was not able to muster support for extending the measure after the Islamist Ra’am party and the left-wing Meretz party refused to support it. The opposition parties at that time, many of whom are now part of the government coalition, also opposed the law in an attempt to topple the government. 

National Unity party leader Benny Gantz, and Gideon Sa’ar, a senior National Unity member, both stated support for the law, despite being in the opposition. 

“What happened during the last administration was wrong on the part of the opposition, and killing the law was against national interests,” Sa’ar said. “We are in opposition to the government, not the state and its essential interests.” 

Former Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s party, Yesh Atid, also voted in support of the law. 

The Labor Party, which backed the bill in June, voted against it in the vote Monday night, citing the nature of the current coalition. According to a statement from the party, Labor “strongly opposes measures that harm Israel’s security and will lead us to a bi-national state, according to the vision of Smotrich and his partners.” 

“The current government seeks to promote the messianic vision of [Bezalel] Smotrich and [Itamar] Ben Gvir and jeopardizes the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” the Labor Party stated.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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