Pluralism fight delays Israel budget passage

The controversial government-sponsored bill, which would require representatives to pledge an oath to the Chief Rabbinate, was to have been debated Tuesday and voted on either Wednesday or Monday. However, Meretz Knesset member Dedi Zucker, a member of the Knesset Law Committee, filed an objection, noting that last week the committee voted against approving the bill for final readings, and thus it could not be submitted in that form.

Ravitz said Tuesday he would renew the arrangements bill negotiations only after the Knesset approves the final reading of the religious councils bill. "It's a procedural entanglement," he said.

Labor Knesset member Ophir Paz-Pines said that tying the budget to religious affairs is a serious transgression. "It's blackmail."