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Israel’s coalition paralyzed even as legislator backtracks from resignation

Coalition leaders managed to persuade Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi to go back on her resignation, and succeeded in passing the bill on tuition for IDF veterans, but the government is still very fragile and deep in crisis.
Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi (R), an Arab-Israeli lawmaker and member of the Meretz party, attends a session in the Knesset, Jerusalem, Nov. 3, 2021.

It happened sometime around midnight on May 23. After many long hours of debates and clashes between the coalition and the opposition in the Knesset plenum, a compromise was finally reached, and the Scholarships for Veterans Bill passed its third reading.

The law, which provides an academic scholarship to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) veterans, highlighted the challenges faced by a minority government. Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s original proposal had the government funding 66% of tuition for newly discharged soldiers, who fought in combat units. The problem was that there was no way to pass the law, due to opposition from Arab members of the coalition. In other words, if it was to pass, the law would need support from at least some members of the opposition.

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