Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suffered a momentary blow on Wednesday, when the Knesset plenum voted 25 to 23 to initiate a parliamentary probe of his role in the Submarine Affair.
Meretz faction head Tamar Zandberg, who initiated the vote, and other opposition MKs briefly celebrated the victory.
But Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin immediately canceled the vote, saying that it had been conducted improperly by his deputy, Joint List MK Mansour Abbas, and that several Likud MKs did not vote, because coalition chairman Miki Zohar had asked for a roll-call vote.
An uproar broke out in the plenum, with opposition MKs shouting “shame, shame” and then walking out.
Zandberg called the cancelation of the vote “a stain on Israeli democracy.” She asked the Knesset’s legal department to review the video from all angles and determine whether the role-call vote had been requested before the voting began.
The roll-call vote was then held, in which only Likud, Shas and United Torah Judaism MKs participated. The proposal to investigate Netanyahu was then defeated 44 to zero.
The Movement for Quality Government said it would petition the Supreme Court to authorize the initial vote that Levin canceled.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid said red lines were crossed in the Knesset in an effort to protect Netanyahu from an investigation, proving that the prime minister has what to hide.
“I’ve been a member of Knesset for eight years, and never has a vote been cancelled after the vote,” Lapid said. “I’ve spoken to the longest serving members of this house, none of them remember something like this.”
He blamed Blue and White for not supporting the probe, saying he was very disappointed with its MKs.
“Netanyahu’s men fired on democracy from close range, and Blue and White ran away again,” Lapid said.
Earlier, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz announced that his faction’s MKs would vote against the parliamentary probe while he waits for a check of professionals in the Defense Ministry.
“The affair is grave but I don’t want to participate in the opposition’s politics of votes,” he said.
Blue and White MKs were not present for the vote.
Earlier, a vote to probe conflicts of interests among judges was removed from the agenda, because its sponsor, Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich realized he had no majority.