Litzman won't give up Finance C'ttee quietly

Litzman to 'Post': "If the government wants to remove me, let them muster up the majority they need."

Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Ya'acov Litzman said Thursday that he would not step down as chairman of his own accord. "If the government wants to remove me, let them muster up the majority they need," he said in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected to replace Litzman with MK Stas Meseznicov (Israel Beiteinu) in the wake of failed coalition negotiations between United Torah Judaism and Kadima. For 10 months UTJ and Kadima have unsuccessfully attempted to hammer out a coalition agreement. During this time, Litzman sat at the helm of the Finance Committee. However, this week UTJ rejected every one of Kadima's proposals for parliamentary cooperation. "We are proud to be the only political party that did not cave in on its demands," said Litzman. Although Shas said it would not help remove Litzman, the coalition has a majority in both the Knesset House Committee and the Finance Committee without Shas. Referring to the government's unwillingness to backtrack on cuts to child allowances, Litzman added, "There are three-quarters of a million children who are living under the poverty line. This government refused to take the steps necessary to alleviate their suffering." Olmert refused UTJ's demands, which would have cost the state hundreds of millions of shekels. The haredi and religious communities, which tend to have larger families, were hit particularly hard by the cut in child allowances.