Monday, January 11, 2010

“Shalom, shalom,and there is no peace” - PM Netanyahu and VP Shalom spar over Knesset attendance

(Jpost).The bad blood between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud rival, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, boiled over on Monday over the issue of truancy at no-confidence votes in the Knesset.

Shalom had made a point of not arguing with Netanyahu or criticizing him publicly since he gave the former foreign minister and finance minister the paltry portfolios of Negev and Galilee development and regional cooperation and the meaningless title vice premier. But they were back at each other's throats at Monday's party faction meeting.

The squabble began after Likud faction chairman Ze'ev Elkin listed the ministers and MKs with the top attendance at no-confidence votes on Mondays at the Knesset and also named the truants, whom he jokingly referred to as "criminals."

Elkin praised Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon for never missing a no-confidence vote. He singled out six MKs for their truancy: Netanyahu, Shalom, TransportationMinister Yisrael Katz, and MKs Ophir Akunis, Danny Danon and Carmel Shama.

"You can't call us criminals when we just have other important things to do at the same time as those votes sometimes," Shalom said, taking offense at the term.

When Shalom told Elkin, "I disagree with you," Netanyahu interjected and told Shalom, "I disagree with you" and then Shalom told Netanyahu, "I disagree with you."

Netanyahu said he doesn't make excuses for his own absences and that if he as prime minister makes an effort to come vote, no one else can claim to be too busy.

"What is this, a kindergarten?" Shalom asked. "This is so stupid. Do I have to cancel a meeting with [Quartet envoy] Tony Blair to come to the Knesset to vote if that's the only time he has to meet with me?"