MK Bezalel Smotrich in the Knesset
MK Bezalel Smotrich in the Knesset צילום: דני שם טוב, דוברות הכנסת

A right-wing MK sparred with the chairman of a pro-coalition Arab faction overnight, after the Knesset voted to back a controversial bill aimed at offering electricity hookups to illegal Bedouin homes.

The Knesset voted 61 to 48 Monday night to back MK Waleed Taha's (United Arab List) so-called “Electricity Law” in its first of three readings.

Following the Knesset vote, Religious Zionist Party chief MK Bezalel Smotrich demanded that the United Arab List, which drafted and lobbied for the bill’s passage, explicitly condemn the recent wave of Arab terrorist attacks in Israel.

UAL chief MK Mansour Abbas walked out of the Knesset plenum, refusing to respond to Smotrich’s demand.

“Mansour Abbas’ silence is deafening,” said Smotrich, “it is a thundering support for terrorism and a backing of terror. And the silence of his coalition partners is no less deafening.”

The bill is controversial as it would approve the connection of tens of thousands of illegally built homes in the Arab sector to the electricity grid.

According to the proposal, the Minister of the Interior will be entitled to stipulate in an order that it is possible to connect a residential building located in a certain area, defined in the order, to electricity, water or a telephone line, even without the existence of a building permit and certificate of completion for that building. The conditions for issuing the order are: A plan was submitted by one of the parties listed in the bill, the structure for which the connection was requested was established by January 1, 2018, and no construction was added after that date. The buildings in question belong to the Bedouin in the Negev.

In addition, the bill proposes that a timetable be set for consultation with the district committee and for the decision of the Minister of the Interior, as well as to determine the conditions that those who apply to connect these structures required to meet, such as an undertaking to apply for a permit within the time limit in the bill.

Did you find a mistake in the article or inappropriate advertisement? Report to us