cottage cheese 311 R.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Cottage cheese took center stage on Wednesday afternoon when a special
discussion was held in the Knesset after 40 MKs signed a letter complaining
about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s “diplomatic, economic and social
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MK Ronit Tirosh gave the prime minister a container of cottage
cheese during the discussion, which lasted nearly three hours. Tirosh said it
was a “gift,” because it has become such an expensive
Complaints about the rising cost of cottage cheese, and calls
to have the product’s price re-regulated were mentioned by many of the 17
lawmakers who spoke.
Coalition head Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) pointed out that
the government stopped regulating cottage cheese prices under then-finance
minister Avraham Hirchson, a Kadima member, in 2006, and accused the Knesset’s
largest party of manufacturing controversy.
“Every day, I look at the
newspaper’s headlines, and I know what you’ll complain about,” Elkin told the
Kadima legislators present. “Here, you found an agenda for today: Cottage
cheese!” MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) said, similarly, that Kadima lawmakers
are “experts at gimmicks,” recalling the time they sprayed air fresheners in the
plenum while saying that Netanyahu’s government “stinks.”
suggested that they be searched before entering the plenum, an idea that Knesset
Speaker Reuven Rivlin rejected, citing parliamentary immunity.
complaints about Netanyahu covered a wide range of topics, from social issues to
the peace process.
MK Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) told the prime minister that
he should help US President Barack Obama “take care of the hot potato” of
vetoing a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood in the UN.
said that Netanyahu is not doing his part in convincing the world to vote
against the Palestinians in September.
“You refuse to give Obama
something to hang on to,” Bar-On said.
MK Robert Ilatov of Israel
Beiteinu said that the “tsunami of delegitimization” began before Netanyahu
became prime minister, and therefore, the government should not shoulder all of
He also defended his party against claims of racism due to its
bill to give those who served in the IDF or National Service preference in
employment in the civil service.
“Arabs and other minorities can do
National Service, too,” Ilatov said.
MKs Hanna Sweid (Hadash) and Ahmed
Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) complained about a lack of equality for
“In a democracy, the minority should have the right to be
different and equal,” Tibi said.
MK Eitan Cabel of Labor said that
Netanyahu has a “strong coalition, but this is the weakest government on social
matters that I can remember.” He mentioned cottage cheese prices, but also hikes
in gas and housing rates.
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) lamented
the influx of foreign migrants in south Tel Aviv, while Hadash’s MK Dov Henin
criticized Netanyahu’s “stubborn, extremist worldview.”
Eliezer Moses (United Torah Judaism) admitted that housing and food prices are
high, but said that “it’s not fair that the prime minister has to sit here for
hours” and listen to lawmakers complain about him when he has other, important,
things to do. “Maybe the law [allowing 40 MKs to call a special Knesset session]
should be changed,” Moses suggested.
Netanyahu addressed some of the
criticisms in his rebuttal to the MKs, emphasizing the Iron Dome missile defense
system and Israel’s cyberdefense efforts.
“Every developed state may be
faced with a cyber attack,” the prime minister said. “We need to protect
There are many Israeli companies in the cyber-defense sector,
which is a defense issue, but also a business opportunity, he
“Israel will be one of the top five cyber powers in the world.
Leading countries want to cooperate with us in this sector of the future. We are
making treaties with the world of tomorrow,” he said.
MK Orit Zuaretz
(Kadima) broke in, calling Netanyahu the “prime minister of
Netanyahu then praised the Iron Dome missile defense system,
citing its success in destroying seven missiles that were shot at the South from
Gaza. He thanked former defense minister and current Labor MK Amir Peretz for
initiating the Iron Dome project and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak for
He also expressed gratitude to the US Congress and
President Barack Obama for helping fund the defense system.