A week after being sworn in, the new government on Sunday faced a busy day of legislative action, with the cabinet set to convene for several key votes and the high-level security cabinet slated to meet for the first time to hammer out its Gaza policy.
The discussions over security, as well as an ongoing debate over the controversial “family reunification” law for the Palestinians, were expected to test whether the coalition parties — an unlikely ensemble of right-wing, left-wing, centrist and Islamist factions — can bridge their considerable ideological differences.
The new government, which removed longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu from power last week, has a razor-thin majority over the opposition in the Knesset.
In its first order of business, the cabinet on Sunday was set to vote on whether to establish a state commission of inquiry into the deadly crush at Mount Meron in April, which killed 45 people in Israel’s worst peacetime disaster. The proposal, submitted by Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, is expected to be approved unanimously.
Ministers will also vote to approve the appointment of 35 ambassadors and consuls general whose postings had been held up by Netanyahu for over half a year.
The cabinet will go on to extend Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi’s tenure as head of the Israel Defense Forces for an additional year.
Later in the day, the security cabinet was to convene for the first time. According to Channel 12 news, the ministers in the forum were set to lay out the government’s policy vis-a-vis terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
The meeting comes after Israel carried out retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza last week following airborne arson attacks from the coastal enclave that have threatened to renew fighting between the sides after last month’s 11-day conflict.