If the state budget is not approved this week, the government, according to laws on governance in Israel, automatically falls – and one of the tactics the opposition is using to bring that result about, apparently, is a version of the filibuster.
Instead of endless speeches, though, opposition parties are trying a different tactic – nearly endless objections to nearly every single line in the document.
According to information filed by Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog (Zionist Camp), the main opposition parties – Zionist Camp, Meretz, and the Arab Joint List – have prepared no fewer than 32,000 objections to the budget, and is demanding the opportunity to vote on each one separately.
While the government expects to have the votes to pass the budget, Knesset officials estimated that it would take 266 hours to go through each objection and vote to reject it. The session, which begins Wednesday, would continue for 11 days straight – not including breaks for meals, prayers, or Shabbat (at least one, if not two).
The coalition is seeking to convince the opposition to change its plans, which would shorten the discussion and save the taxpayers money and MKs frustration, considering that the 61 votes to approve the budget are expected to materialize.
Trying another tact, the government has proposed to the Knesset Control Committee, which sets the rules for plenum discussions, to bundle up all the objections – except for 90 of the opposition's choice – into one bundle.
In response, opposition MKs said that it was another example of “the Netanyahu government's attempts to highjack the legal process and steamroll the public will in a non-democratic manner. We will not agree to this, and will stand on our democratic rights to object to this terrible budget.”