Monday the Knesset returned to working mode after a long passover recess. The first day’s plenary session was less than three hours, and over two of those hours were spent on the discussion of Kadima’s no confidence vote. Kadima’s weekly attempt to bring down the government failed, this time by the margin of 58 against, 21 for, 4 abstaining and 37 MK’s who just didn’t show up to their first day back at work.

MK Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) accused the government in his opening speech of lowering Israel to an all-time low internationally, both within Europe and the United States. The former Finance Minister questioned both the morality and necessity to have a bi-annual budget. He also mocked the 1,500 government decision that have all gone nowhere. Bar-On lashed out at Labor for betraying their voters by joining a right-wing government and at Yisrael Betaynu for sitting with the religious parties that cripple secular legislation. Ronnie assured both parties that he is looking forward to the next elections where Kadima will take away their mandates.

The most shocking part of Bar-On’s speech was that he had made inquiries within Jerusalem city hall and the Interior Ministry and found out that construction in East Jerusalem had been frozen. He charged that a corrupt deal was made where Bibi agreed to Obama’s demand on the freeze, however in return would not say so publicly. The Kadima’s MK’s last words were: “Bibi wants to go out in the rain and remain dry”.

Yochanan Pelsner (Kadima) slammed the government with Livni’s favorite argument:  Bibi was not elected by a majority of Israel, nor is the Likud the largest party in Knesset. The MK followed with a rant against the  Labor party which saw Amir Peretz walk out in protest. He later asked them to leave the coalition and join the Kadima led opposition that would immediately bring down the coalition to 61 MKs and eventually bring down the right-wing government all together.

Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Ardan (Likud) countered that he didn’t hear anything new from Bar-On or Kadima. He assured that the Israeli people stand behind the governmental decisions, even if they don’t agree with the methodology. Ardan also reminded Bar-On that both the Likud and Kadima stand for a Palestinian state, and for painful compromises.

Ofir Okunis (Likud) added that the government wants to talk but the Palestinians don’t have any interest. Claiming that the Palestinians want more and that nothing is enough for them. Okunis agreed that this is the worst pressure America has ever put on us, although speaker of the house Reuven Rivlin disagreed. The Likud MK said that there are disagreements with the America, but we will convince them we are right on Jerusalem. He than expressed outrage towards Livni and Kadima, charging that when the Likud was in the opposition they supported the government descions to the rest of the world, even though they disagreed internally. He said that from Kadima they expect the same thing. He closed with a responce to Livni’s political corruption allegation: “We might be Bibiland, but at least we are not Holyland”.

Orbach (Jewish Home) slammed the Arab MK delegation to Libya and cited that as a key reason why the opposition would lose in their attempt to bring down the government once again.

Other quotes from the debate: Ketzeleh (NU):  “Jews – Get married young and have many babies. We will win the demographic game!”. Nisim Ze’ev (Shas): “Kadima forgot to do Biur Chametz this year”. Ben-Simon (Labor): “I never used the term “occupied” land, but I have used the term “controlled” land.”

Herzl Day was celebrated with brief speeches from the Prime-Minister, Opposition Leader and Speaker of the House.

Other Notes:

* The 7th Knesset Secretary is appointed, the first female ever.

* Ceremonial swearing in of new-old Labor MK Rajeb Majadleh in place of Yuli Tamir.

* Chaim Katz reported on the Knesset delegation to Poland for walk of the living.