Cracks begin to form in coalition

Lieberman: Despite Kadima's pledge, it has decided to drag out the issue.

knesset in rain 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
knesset in rain 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Opposition party members managed to pry open a few cracks in the coalition Wednesday, convincing several coalition members to break party ranks and vote in favor of controversial legislation. The first vote came over a bill that would require the prime minister to receive regular health checks and publish the results to the public. Proposed by MK Dan Naveh (Likud), the coalition members had been instructed to vote against it. However, during the Knesset vote MK Nadia Hilu (Labor) voted with the opposition, and MK Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) abstained. The final vote was a slim majority of 30-29 in favor. The two MKs have had a history of breaking with the party line; during the budget vote several months ago, Hilu considered voting against the coalition and Yacimovich infamously abstained, earning a scolding from her fellow party members. Later in the plenum, MK Marina Solodkin (Kadima) broke with her party and voted in favor of an Israel Beiteinu-initiated bill that would ease restrictions on secular marriage. Solodkin has had a history of party discontent following the failure of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to give her the deputy ministerial post he promised her during the elections. Although all three MKs have been labeled rebels within their own parties, they had voted consistently with party lines after the first month of the 17th Knesset, until Wednesday. The civil marriage bill was rejected by a heavy margin of 63-16 after the government asked the MKs to delay the bill and allow it more time to evaluate the current law.