Roni Bar-On 298.88.
(photo credit: Channel 99)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other senior ministers took members of the coalition to task for not supporting Kadima in Monday's no-confidence vote and warned them that not voting for the budget on its first reading Wednesday could have dire results for the party and the coalition.
At a joint meeting of the Kadima and Gil Pensioners Party Knesset factions yesterday, Olmert complained that only 50 MKs had voted against the no-confidence measure brought by Israel Beiteinu. The fact that it had been defeated wasn't enough, said Olmert, who demanded that all 67 coalition MKs be present at such votes.
"Unity is the most important thing and the source of our strength," he said.
Interior Minister Roni Bar-On said that "in 2003, the destruction of the Likud began with arguments over the budget. There are new MKs here, and everyone wants to impress the media. This is the kind of crack that can lead to Kadima's disintegration, just like it did to the Likud."
Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson complained that at the Finance Committee meeting earlier on Monday, some of the coalition MKs had joined the opposition in attacking the budget. He didn't mention any names but it was clear that he was referring to Gil MK Moshe Sharoni, who asked Olmert at the meeting why he hadn't consulted with his party's ministers before deciding to raise bread prices last week.
Olmert answered that "everyday we raise price of gasoline, do you think we have to consult every time we do it. Also the Gil ministers voted for the budget in the cabinet, without being acquainted with it, since they know that the first reading is only technical and afterward there will be alterations."
Meanwhile, the coalition leadership is not planning to threaten fractious MKs with sanctions.
MK Marina Solodkin, who walked out of the vote to approve the government last Thursday, had a meeting with Olmert, who promised to take "trust-building steps" toward the Russian community after not appointing any of its representatives to ministerial positions.
Meanwhile, Finance Committee chairman Ya'acov Litzman preferred not to chair the committee's meeting to discuss the budget, as his party, United Torah Judaism, had yet to reach a coalition agreement with Kadima. Menahem Ben-Sasson filled in for him.