Knesset may cancel summer recess to pass housing bills

Opposition leader: Netanyahu "isn't the solution, he's the problem"; PM reportedly to seek ways of decreasing tax burden on general public.

By
July 31, 2011 02:13
2 minute read.
Tzipi Livni

Livni 520. (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER / FLASH 90)

 
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The Knesset House Committee will vote this week on postponing the Knesset recess in light of mass protests over housing costs.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin responded on Saturday night to a request from Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) to push off the recess, scheduled to begin on August 7, in order to pass bills that would alleviate the crisis.

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Rivlin said that the change would be brought to a vote in the House Committee, which usually decides on the length of the recess. He added that a forum of faction leaders rejected the idea last week.

“Elected officials need to enlist in order to deal with the public crisis,” Yishai said.

“I hope the Knesset authorizes my initiative.”

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) also called on Saturday for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to cancel the Knesset recess.

“I call on Netanyahu to agree to our call – the Knesset has to continue working, and the solution to what is happening in the streets has to be found through the Knesset,” Livni said.

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“If Netanyahu plans to truly change the situation, he needs the Knesset, and this will be his test: Does he want to solve the problem, or make more speeches?” she asked.

While acknowledging that protesters don’t want to hand their struggle over to any political party, something she praised, Livni told Channel 10 News that “at the end of the day, this is a problem that will have to be solved politically.”

Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) called on Livni to stop “dressing up as Che Guevara and making populist statements. If Kadima really wants to be part of the solution, she can join the government whenever she wants.”

“Many Kadima members turn to [the Likud] behind the scenes and say they do not support their party leader’s cheap populism,” Elkin said. “Stop the hypocrisy.”

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom (Likud) called on Kadima to join the coalition.

“If the opposition really wants to help the people of Israel, they must enlist to help change priorities from the inside, and not just yell to bring down the government,” he said.

“The government must intervene in places where there are market failures,” Shalom added. “Our job is to increase competition and bring to lower prices.”

Shalom also called to lower taxes.

Earlier on Saturday, MK Dov Henin (Hadash) called on Netanyahu to resign, saying a government that is “leading [with] policies that enrich the tycoons and damage the vast majority of citizens needs to go home today.

“This struggle that began in Tel Aviv has spread to Israeli cities from the North to the South,” Henin said.

“It will not be stopped with candies and won’t fold because of political spin. The people demand social justice.”

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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