By a vote of 66-42, the Knesset passed in its preliminary reading a bill that would allow ministers and deputy ministers to give up their positions as Knesset members in order to enable a different member of their party slate to take their spot in parliament.

Under the so-called “Norwegian law,” any MK who is appointed as a minister or deputy minister may resign temporarily from the Knesset, thereby permitting the next candidate on the party’s roster to enter parliament in his or her stead. Under the bill’s new rules, if such a minister or deputy minister later resigns from the post, or is appointed prime minister, deputy prime minister or acting prime minister, he or she would automatically return to the Knesset at the expense of the new MKs.

MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid-Telem), who shortly before the vote was elected Leader of the Opposition, said: “The Norwegian law? This is your first law? This is the first thing the government places on the Knesset’s table? More jobs? More bureaus, more drivers, more budgets, more arranging jobs for the chevre (close friends)? Does someone in your government of the detached remember where this money is coming from?”

“We gave you an opportunity to start on the right foot. To (put to a vote today) the unemployment benefits for the self-employed law. We told you, let’s do it together. Coalition and Opposition. We’ll show the Israelis that some things are above politics. We’ll save the self-employed in their most difficult hour. This didn’t interest you. If it’s not about jobs, nothing interests you,” MK Lapid said.

“Are you not satisfied with 36 ministers, 16 deputy ministers, a 52-headed monster? You want more? It is not enough to have one Prime Minister’s Residence, you are building another one. One Prime Minister’s Office is not enough, you are building another. Does anyone in your government of the detached remember where the money is coming from? This is the money of the workers. Salaried employees, self-employed individuals, taxpayers – all these good Israelis that you (discount). You view them as ATM machines. There are no more Israelis. There are ATM machines.”