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knesset full 248.88.(Photo by: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Knesset approves budgetary expansion
Vote follows filibuster opposition speeches night.
The Knesset voted Tuesday morning in favor of government legislation proposing an increase to the national budget framework from 1.7 percent to 2.6%, which will also increase Israel's deficit.

The decision was approved in the second and third reading with a majority of 51 to 31 parliamentary votes, after a 12-hour night of filibuster speeches by the opposition protesting the move.

The opposition, led by Kadima, made an unexpected announcement late Monday night, cutting short its planned 45 hours of filibuster speeches and request a vote, resulting in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his ministers receiving a 5 a.m. alert calling on them to vote early on Tuesday morning. Procedures dictate that once the opposition makes such a move, the Knesset has to make a vote within two hours.

MKs expressed satisfaction over the parliamentary conduct of the opposition in protesting the budgetary expansion, and the Kadima spokesperson said that his party had chosen to make the early wake up call for Netanyahu so as to, "Send a clear message, that every time he dares to grab public money for political bribes to his coalition partners - Kadima will make sure he doesn't get a good night's sleep."

Kadima MK Meir Sheetrit criticized the decision, saying that expanding the budget goes against the world trend of reducing national deficits, with only the rich benefiting from a debt expansion.

Coalition members, however, noted the futility of the opposition efforts and emphasized that the filibuster night was waste of public money.
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