Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weekend of Team-Building in Safed - Lieberman: Strongest Coalition since '70's

A weekend of team-building, during which members of the coalition toured Safed and broke bread together with the First Couple Benjamin and Sarah Netanyahu, Participants reported a lively atmosphere and bonding among ministers and MKs with varied backgrounds.

The prime minister, who is a Levite, was given the second aliya at the afternoon mincha prayer service at the hotel.

The lawmakers dined on gefilte fish, Moroccan fish, beef in filo pastry and cornish hen, and drank wine from the Golan Heights Winery.

The coalition members who reported for the weekend stay at the northern city's Ruth Rimonim Hotel were effusive in their praise for the experience. "It's an excellent weekend," MK Ofir Akunis said, after visiting several art galleries in the Old City. "There's a great atmosphere, it's a genuine team-building, in an informal atmosphere." Akunis, a Tel Avivian, made special note of Safed's clean air.

Agriculture Minister Orit Noked called the weekend "amazing," saying, "We had an enjoyable encounter. We sat and talked with each other, without speaking about politics. We also got a chance to meet our friends' families, the people who give us support throughout the year. We managed to disengage for a brief time from the daily nuisances of life, and I didn't speak on the phone even once."

Lieberman said the current coalition was the strongest since that of prime minister Golda Meir in the 1970s. When he said the coalition’s future strength depended on all its promises being fulfilled, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said that for that to happen “manna” would have to fall from heaven. Netanyahu replied that Israel needed money, not manna.

After arriving on Friday afternoon, the guests attended a reception that including klezmer music performed by local musicians, during which the coalition members sang "Kol ha'olam kulo, gesher tzar me'od," attributed to Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, as well as the traditional Friday night song "Shalom Aleikhem, Malakhei Hashalom," which was composed in Safed.

Works by local artists and musicians, as well as the products of farmers and manufacturers in the north, were exhibited. Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, lit Shabbat candles together with Shohat and his wife, Sivan.