Last Tuesday’s session lasted over twelve hours. It started at 9 AM sharp, after about a ten and a half hour break from the night before. Several MKs gave interesting speeches against the budget such as MKs Oron, Katzeleh, Shamalov Berkovich and Tiviaev. Coalition MKs responded with some speeches against certain aspects of the budget, and some, such as MK Orlev, categorically supported the whole budget. Overall, it was an interesting twelve hours.

Bill Summary

2011-2012 Budget Bill and 2011-2012 Arrangements Bill

MK Shai (Kadima) expressed concern over the resignation of the hasbara chief in the Prime Minister’s office. He accused Israel of losing the PR battle over its legitimacy. He warned that Netanyahu’s assistants are working against each other and not with each other. He claimed that the biannual budget is Netanyahu’s way to stay in power for the next two years. He asked if there is one country that has a biannual budget. He thanked Speaker Rivlin for shrinking the Arrangements Bill. He blasted the government for budgeting enough money for only 60% of the population to receive gas masks. He said he was worried that 40% of the population would not survive a biological attack because the government decided not to spend the money to defend them. He slammed the government for not budgeting enough money to protect Sderot and other cities along the Gaza border. He said that he was confused about when Foreign Minister Liberman is speaking in the name of the State of Israel and when he is speaking in the name of his party. He blasted the foreign ministry budget cut from 1.7 billion to 1.57 billion. He stated that the importance of the office is increasing and the budget is shrinking. He criticized Liberman for losing the battle in South America.

MK Molla (Kadima) called the 11 million NIS budget to fight drugs a joke and asked the government to raise that budget immediately. He slammed the budget cuts to the local authorities and the raising of the budget in Judea and Samaria. He attacked Netanyahu for choosing Ariel over Karmiel. He said he was willing to lower the budget of his city, Rishon Lezion, in order to give more money to Kiryat Shmona. He called the budget of Binyanei Hauma in Jerusalem unnecessary. He criticized the Israeli education system for teaching our children about Moses but not about Herzl and Ben Gurion. He called for raising the budget for the Jewish Agency, the KKL, the WZO, the Keren Hayesod and all other Zionist organizations. He blasted the increase of 75 million NIS to the Religious Affairs Ministry and said the money could be spent better elsewhere. He labeled the government a job machine that has too many ministers and assistants. He noted that most of the projects that did not hire a lobbyist saw their budget shrink. He slammed the budgeting of shuls that this year will be 30 million NIS and next year will increase to 33 million and suggested that only the religious citizens pay for shuls. He concluded that Netanyahu is looking to survive as Prime Minister.

MK Oron (Meretz) quoted the Deputy Finance Minister’s speech from the night before, during which he mentioned that the coalition MKs are bound by coalition agreements signed at the beginning of the Knesset’s term. He read out how much each party will make per year. He said the National Home Party will receive 72 million NIS per year. (It should be noted that there is no such party.  MK Oron mixed up the Jewish Home party that is in the coalition and the National Union party that sits in the opposition.) He disclosed that Shas will receive 120 million, United Torah Judaism 110 million, Labor 100 million, and Yisrael Beitenu 147 million NIS per year. He said that all together 569 million NIS is being given to the five coalition parties, and the biannual budget will give them 1.168 billion NIS total. Oron said he was disgusted that no one knows the destination of this part of the budget and that the parties can decide where it will go at a later date. He said if the projects they were budgeting were worthy, they should say what they are. He attacked the budget as overall being bad for the poor. He asked why Netanyahu is lowering direct taxes and raising indirect taxes. He said that Netanyahu is taking money from one pocket and moving it to another pocket. He concluded that by switching pockets the poor are hurt more than the rich.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman (U.T.J.) noted that the pharmaceutical basket has been lowered from 415 million NIS to 300 million, but dental care received a 150 million NIS raise and the country is going to purchase another 30 MRI machines. He attacked the media for criticizing the Haredi parties and yeshiva student budgets when there is a right-wing government but not when there is a left-wing government. He charged that Oron would also take money for his party if he was in the coalition. He wondered why what U.T.J. does is forbidden but what other parties do is okay.

MK Whbee (Kadima) slammed the budget for cutting the local authorities’ budget in half and cutting the Druze budget by half as well. He disagreed with lowering direct taxes and raising indirect taxes. He said raising the taxes on gas will hurt the poor and not the rich. He called the nine billion NIS transportation budget inflated. He said that the public listened to the Likud when they were 12 MKs but they are not listening to the Likud now that they have 27 MKs.

MK Schneller (Kadima) blasted the reduction in the foreign ministry’s budget and asked where the government’s priorities lie. He stressed this wasn’t politics but rather our survival. He asked how we can have diplomats who are ambassadors for multiple countries. He also attacked the reduction in the transportation safety budget following a year filled with road deaths. He said that we must teach road safety in different languages to the various races and cultures in Israel. He noted a Tel Aviv University and Technion study that found that certain cultures have swelled the amount of drunk driving in Israel.

Culture and Sports Minister Livnat (Likud) attacked Schneller for a hidden blow to the Russian community. She hinted that Schneller was referring to the Russians’ alcohol consumption culture. She stressed that the priorities of this government is to raise the education and transportation budgets and something needs to give.

MK Sarsur (R.T.) criticized Schneller and told him that the foreign ministry did not receive a budget cut if one includes Liberman’s salary. He attacked the budget as bad for the poor and for the Arabs in particular.

MK Hermesh (Kadima) said that the by lowering the deficit we are hurting the poor. He questioned the price of 50 NIS for a liter of gas. He said, as someone who lives near Sderot, people will leave the suburbs for the city in order to save money on gas. He quoted an assistant who told him by raising gas prices and not lowering the VAT, we can lower taxes for the rich and still lower the deficit. He asked how people who earn a high salary should be allowed to collect from Bituach Leumi the same amount at the expense of the middle class.

MK Katzeleh (N.U.) admitted he had never given a 22 minute speech from the plenum before. He said that, as the committee chairman of foreign workers, the illegal immigration into Israel worries him. He recalled that his committee was created to deal with the people who came from Asia and were authorized and licensed to be here. He noted that the IDF has absorbed 15,000 of the illegal immigrants who crossed from the Egyptian border and sent them to live in the big cities over the past year. 34,000 illegals have been absorbed by the IDF since 2006. He noted that many were not absorbed and their numbers are unknown. He criticized the Bedouins, who, according to left wing groups, are raping the women before they bring them across from the Sinai to the Negev. He released the official Interior Ministry numbers which estimate the number of illegal immigrants at 45,000. Katzeleh attacked the government for not allocating any of the budget for these people. He asked who will pay for their education or health. He noted in Tel Aviv the illegal kids go to school and in Eilat they don’t, because each mayor is allowed to decide if he wants to allocate his citizens’ funds towards the illegals. He noted that these illegals live in apartments and are contributing to the housing shortage as well as encouraging citizens to leave entire neighborhoods. He praised the budget for housing the 30,000 immigrants that are expected over the next two years but criticized the government for not doing the same for the illegals. He questioned how in 2010 Israel welcomed 230 new millionaires. He answered that they probably sold real estate in Jerusalem recently. He revealed a recent conversation he had with Tel Aviv Mayor Huldai, during which Huldai told him that he suspected the illegal immigrants have surpassed 80,000. Katzeleh warned of a housing crisis in response to the shortage of construction in the country in general, and in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem in particular, and the increase of the illegal immigrant population.  Speaker Rivlin asked Katzeleh why Peace Now is telling the public that there is building in Judea and Samaria. Katzeleh explained the difference between a construction freeze and a building freeze. In a building freeze – Prime Minister Netanyahu refuses to authorize any new permits for building in eastern Jerusalem and Defense Minister Barak refuses to authorize any new permits for building in Judea and Samaria. In a construction freeze – not only is the building frozen, but also authorized buildings are not allowed to be constructed. Katzeleh explained to Speaker Rivlin that there has been a building freeze since Netanyahu assumed power two years ago and that the settlers are fighting to avoid another construction freeze. He explained that all the current construction that “Peace Now” has been reporting in the three months since the construction freeze ended has to do with constructing buildings that received their permits before Netanyahu and Barak took office. He revealed that there are thousands of such buildings. Katzeleh agreed with the Peace Now numbers that place the Judea and Samaria population at 330,000. Speaker Rivlin asked Katzeleh why Israel doesn’t hire the illegal immigrants. Katzeleh responded they hired them to do agriculture and they ran away after two days, and they tried hiring them for construction and they refused to show up for work at all. He called on the country to promote programs to encourage Jewish workers in agriculture. Katzeleh recalled how he built over 150,000 units when he was former Prime Minister Sharon’s assistant at the housing ministry. He asked the current government to adopt those numbers as well. He called on Netanyahu to stop the illegal immigration before Tel Aviv reaches 200,000 Africans and we lose the Jewish identity of the city. He labeled it a demographic catastrophe.

MK Tirosh (Kadima) quoted a 1998 study that showed a third of Israeli households were in the middle class, compared to today where a third of Israeli households are under the poverty line. She noted that a third of the workforce makes minimum wage, which is less than 4,000 NIS per month. She slammed the people who are trying to steal money from those who discovered the natural gas reserves. She warned that the three companies might run away to Egypt with their natural gas and leave Israel with nothing. She attacked Education Minister Sa’ar for raising the ultra orthodox education budget by 30 million NIS. She also criticized the cut in the Hesder Yeshiva budget.

MK Khenin (Hadash) attacked the coalition agreements that Oron revealed earlier in the day. He slammed the government for not revealing the budget to the public but just to the MKs, and that it is in book form and not online. He noted that only Bahrain has a biannual budget; the rest of the world’s democratic countries have an annual budget. He blasted Israel for finishing last in most financial charts among OECD members. He charged that by lowering taxes it will be hard for the country to deal with disasters such as the fire in the Carmel.  He revealed that Netanyahu’s tax reductions have cost the country 46.2 billion NIS in the past two years alone and will cost the country even more during the next two years. He blasted the policy which lowers taxes of the rich and offers fewer services for the poor. He demanded more big government and spending money on incentives. He slammed the government tax exemptions to companies like Google Israel, which earned 160 million dollars last year and paid nothing in taxes. He attacked the defense budget that has received high sums such as 53 billion NIS for Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. He revealed that this year’s 61 billion NIS defense budget can be raised if we face another operation or war. He slammed the reduction in education hours in the students’ school week. He mocked the policy of creating more classrooms and shortening the school day. He slammed the gradual cuts of 7.5 billion NIS over the last decade. He slammed the government for a shortage of beds in hospitals and for cutting the pharmaceutical budget. He attacked the government for giving local authorities more responsibilities and lowering their budgets and suggested that the public would see their services cut as a result. He blasted the government for their housing policy. He called for an end to capitalism and the rise of communism. He called for free public housing for all citizens in Israel. He attacked the policy on the environment and questioned how 40 million NIS is enough to help reinforce buildings to survive earthquakes. He said the budget was racist towards Arabs. He said there is an alternative to this budget, and it is communism. He called the government a capitalistic puppet of rich business interests.

MK Edery (Kadima) said he was disgusted when he heard Israeli companies that are building in the Arab city near Ramallah agreed to the Palestinians’ request not to buy parts or hire people from Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem or the Golan. He attacked the coalition parties who attack the government and vote with the Likud in return for hundreds of millions of NIS. He asked where the budget was for the housing crisis. He noted that Sharon absorbed a million Russians in two years easily and swiftly and he suggested the government duplicate those measures. He attacked the government for cutting the local authority budgets and raising the water prices and water taxes.

MK Bielski (Kadima) also attacked the local authority budget cuts and the raising of water prices. He noted that when he was the mayor of Ra’anana there were floods, and he renovated the sewer pipes and prevented the floods. He spoke highly of Minister Begin, who was in the room, and asked him to support a bill that he is co-sponsoring about water and sewage issues.

MK Regev (Likud) said she supported Netanyahu, but she was frustrated with the budget. She said that the budget is a bad one that raises taxes and increases poverty. She blasted the lack of funds to solve the housing shortage. She attacked the government policy of giving Tel Aviv a priority, and said that this is the State of Israel, not the State of Tel Aviv. She said that money should be spent on the Negev and the Galil instead.

MK Orbach (J.H.) attacked the nostalgia of the past speakers and said that the MKs should worry about the future. He said that he didn’t believe Netanyahu when he says that it could be a lot worse because he doesn’t buy it anymore. He said that the housing shortage is hurting the country by forcing different sectors to expand to different neighborhoods and cities, which is annoying the elite. He said that it won’t be too long before the elite starts protesting against their new Arab or Haredi neighbors. He said that we need to promote building in the Negev and the Galil before everyone moves into Gush Dan. He read a study that showed Gush Dan has 84% of the financial companies’ headquarters, and 70% of the high tech industries’ workers, 70% of lawyers, 73% of accountants and 80% of specialized doctors live there. He noted that 88% of Israel’s 100-millionaires, 89% of artists, 77% of advertisers and 74% of architects live in Gush Dan. He concluded that the government policy is to strengthen Gush Dan and let the rest of the country go to waste. He complained about the tax increase on gas and the exemption of certain gases from the tax that will benefit certain known rich tycoons.

MK Naffaa (Balad) attacked the housing shortage in the Arab and Druze sectors. He noted an 18% average cut on Druze funds in the various government ministries in general and a 69% cut in infrastructure and a 39% cut in housing in particular.

MK Avraham Balila (Kadima) attacked Netanyahu for going back on his promises for this year’s budget and for raising his ministers’ and their assistants’ salaries. She blasted the raising of the gas, cigarettes, water and city taxes, as well as lowering the subsidies on milk and cottage cheese. She said that a biannual budget is dangerous for Israel. She noted that there is no increase in budget for the Police crime-fighting programs, water infrastructure, hospital beds, the public education school system, agriculture, tourism, earthquake prevention or additional funds for the poor people. She responded that instead of those important things, the survival of the coalition is more important to Netanyahu.

MK Majadele (Labor) announced that even though he is against the budget he will vote for it and follow coalition rules. He said that every government has hurt the Arabs and this one does too. He revealed that they offered him a minister position and he rejected it because he doesn’t believe in it. He warned that Israel will lose their OECD mandate if they don’t help the Arabs. He blasted the local authorities’ budget cuts and the government’s solutions to the Carmel fire and the way the press covered it.

MK Zuaretz (Kadima) attacked the biannual budget and the many ministers and their budgets. She wondered when the OECD will kick us out of their exclusive group. She blasted the several overseas trips by Netanyahu, Barak and Liberman. She attacked Deputy Minister Gamliel for not fighting the cut to her budget and hinted that it might have something to do with her long maternity leave. She said that she is glad to have met Abu Mazen and shown him the pragmatic side.

MK Kirshenbaum (Y.B.) stated that the previous biannual budget helped Israel avoid the global financial crisis. She said she was worried that the crisis isn’t over yet and that we need another biannual budget to keep us out of that crisis. She thanked Speaker Rivlin for splitting bills from the Arrangements Bill and said that overall it is a good budget that promotes high tech and other business as well as raises the government funds for immigrants. She also praised the growth of the marketing and advertising departments in the tourism ministry.

MK Zeev (Shas) attacked the government for telling the Haredim that the budget was going towards the Arabs and telling the Arabs that the budget was going towards the Haredim. He said these were childish games. He defended the budget his party receives and said they use it to build shuls. He said his one complaint was that if the water taxes are going to be raised, there must be a body that determines which people get a tax break.  He also called for more public housing. He warned that the illegal immigrants must be stopped and something must be done against the Bedouins who make $4,000 for each illegal immigrant they bring across the border. He warned that a million and a half Sudanese are waiting in the Sinai for their turn to cross the border. He called the illegals a disease and called the Palestinians enemies who fire rockets and blow up buses. He said he was worried that if these problems are not solved Israel will have a Muslim majority.

MK Aflalo (Kadima) attacked the lowering of taxes that only help about 40% of the population, while the increase in indirect taxes hurts 100% of the population. He said that a high unemployment rate in the Negev and the Galil and the increase in gas taxes everywhere is a dangerous cocktail. He blasted the funds given to the high tech companies instead of the exporting industry. He also attacked the government’s response to the Carmel fire.

MK Moses (U.T.J.) complained about the housing shortage. He said that the situation is so bad that people sell their parking spots which they turned into small one-room apartments for $70,000-$75,000. He complained that what used to be the cost of an apartment is now the cost of just the land. He slammed the budget allocated to encourage couples who already left the country to return when the money could be used to keep the families that are thinking of leaving. He slammed Rotem’s conversion bill. He accused the finance ministry of being heartless.

MK Tibi (R.T.) slammed the government budget as racist towards the Arabs in every regard. He complained that there are no Arabs in any high level positions and that is why they are discriminated against every budget. He blasted the government for not dealing with the Arabs’ unemployment, housing and classroom shortage, for building in Judea and Samaria and for attacking Palestinians.

MK Swaid (Hadash) said that the budget maintains the status quo. He called for eliminating the defense budget. He asked how one billion NIS per plane is a worthwhile investment. He complained that every coalition party receives money for their sector and the opposition parties do not. He said that an Arab family can’t afford housing and therefore existing houses are being split into two apartments. He said the factories in the Negev and the Galil are hurting, and with the raising of water and gas taxes he expects them to shut down. He blasted the low minimum wage and the cutting of the local authorities’ budget, both of which he said will prevent the citizens from receiving their social services. He attacked the prices of prescription drugs.

MK Horowitz (Meretz) said the biggest problem with the biannual budget is that it has become a capitalistic macro budget as opposed to the traditional socialist micro budget. He praised the previous budgets of big government and criticized the recent small government ones. He attacked the reduction in the public school system budget that allowed an increase in the Haredi one. He also criticized the idea of lowering the deficit. He blasted the housing shortage and called on the government to build free public housing. He attacked the government’s decision to terminate the position of Knesset Commissioner. He attacked private institutions in general and private schools and hospitals in particular. He called on the government to prevent these institutions and to bring everything back to the government.

MK Azoulay (Shas) attacked the government cuts to the local authorities. He asked the government to present more funds to the religious authority ministry and said that what they received was not enough. He criticized the privatization of the water industry and the simultaneous raising of the water taxes. He confessed that the firefighters’ budget saddened him because he wanted their budget to be higher, and he also called for the unification of the three separate fire fighting unions.

MK Dicter (Kadima) criticized the government for not responding to 150 rockets that landed inside Israel over the past year. He suggested spending money on defending citizens instead of giving yeshiva students a raise. He said the single thing he would want to change in the budget is reinforcing schools, kindergartens and hospitals so that they can withstand rocket fire.

MK Orlev (J.H.) demanded that the government and the lawyers sit down and end the lawyers strike. He went on to praise the budget and defended it to the opposition MKs in the plenum. He also praised Netanyahu’s work in bringing Israel into the OECD. He praised the 32 billion NIS budget for education. He attacked those who slammed the cuts to the local authorities, and noted that they came as a result of raising the local city taxes. He called the local authorities cry babies and criticized their threats of a strike.

MK Oron criticized the coalition parties who are receiving money for supporting the budget and attacked Orlev for supporting this type of arrangement. He went on to attack the budget as bad news for the poor thanks to the new indirect taxes. He suggested delaying the government plan to lower the deficit completely by 2016 for a two-year period to 2018 and using that money for social services.

MK Shamalov Berkovich (Kadima) quoted former Prime Minister Rabin when he said in 1995 that ‘United Jerusalem will be the undivided capital of the Jewish people and Israel forever’. She complained that Netanyahu is not saying such words in the press. She attacked Netanyahu for not increasing police protection in eastern Jerusalem for those who wish to visit the holy places and for not fighting the crime gangs of the Arab neighborhoods. She blasted the 40% cut to public schools in Jerusalem, and similar cuts to the Negev and Galil. She wondered if Netanyahu prefers the State of Tel Aviv over the State of Israel. She slammed all of the ministers that moved their ministries to Tel Aviv such as Ministers Barak, Simhon, Braverman and Shalom. Justice Minister Neeman interrupted and said that he agrees with Shamalov Berkovich’s opinion on that subject and he took the issue up with Netanyahu. Neeman noted that he closed the justice ministry’s Tel Aviv headquarters. Shamalov Berkovich said that the capital should house all the ministries. She slammed Channel 10 that has its headquarters in Tel Aviv, as well as other government licensed companies that are in violation of their licensing, which dictates they must have their headquarters in Jerusalem. She called on Netanyahu to raise the entire Jerusalem budget instead of cutting in certain areas and increasing it in others. She called for building in Jerusalem and its suburbs in Judea and Samaria. She warned that without the suburbs of Jerusalem, Jerusalem will be doomed. She said that we must make Jerusalem cool in order to entice youngsters to stay in Jerusalem and to even move there.

MK Boim (Kadima) said that he rejected Netanyahu’s attempt to brand this budget as a ‘new reform’. He attacked the government with the most ministers and deputy ministers in Israel’s history, one that accounts for a third of the Knesset. He talked about the danger of the executive branch overpowering the legislative branch. He blasted the high 16% VAT that was supposed to be lowered but wasn’t, and the raising of the indirect taxes that will kill the middle class. He slammed the Bibi-Bank that gives money to certain sectors of Israeli society at the expense of the whole.

MK Agbaria (Hadash) criticized the rabbis of Tiberias and Nahariya for objecting to the construction of a mosque in the Tiberias and Nahariya local hospitals. He went on to blast the rabbis’ letter telling Jews not to sell property to Arabs. He said that we live in a racist religious state. He noted that Jews are against Europeans or Americans who won’t sell apartments in Europe or America to Jews and call them anti-Semites. Finance Minister Steinitz asked if Agbaria supported Arabs who did not sell their property to Jews, especially in Jerusalem. Agbaria responded that he doesn’t feel Jews have a right to live in eastern Jerusalem and clarified that not one Jew should live beyond the 1967 borders, so anyone who sells to a Jew is sinning. He said that Jews in the old city are settlers like those who live in Hebron. He called on the country to embrace communism. He said that way he can live in Netanya and the minister can live in Umm El-Fahem. He blasted the biannual budget and the high price of certain prescription drugs. He summarized the budget as anti-Arab and capitalist.

MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) attacked the government for giving each coalition party a bucketful of money to do with what they please. He said the citizens want answers and they are frustrated. He chose to attack MK Orlev and the National Home Party that will receive 144 million NIS in the biannual budget (Again, it should be noted that there is no such party.  MK Hasson mixed up the Jewish Home party that is in the coalition and the National Union party that sits in the opposition.) He said that overall 1.14 billion NIS will be spent on the coalition parties. He slammed the ministers’ offices budget. He charged that the money of the budget is being spent on unworthy causes instead of presenting a clear agenda. He blasted the 256,000 NIS that was being spent on the ministers’ new clothes and suits. He also attacked the lowering of direct taxes in order to raise indirect taxes. He attacked the government’s response to the Carmel fire. He warned that the government’s choice not to properly protect the country from potential earthquakes will prove to be just as costly as their lack of preparation for the fire.

MK El-Sana (R.T.) said that the budget was pointed against the Arabs. He charged that ever since the second intifada the Israelis have looked at their Arab neighbors as enemies. He asked why small sectors receive large amounts of cash but the 20% Arab minority receives nothing. He attacked the attempt to eliminate the deficit by 2016 and said that the rest of the money was being spent on the ministers and coalition parties. He said the VAT was too high and must be lowered. He blasted the cuts in education and the housing shortage. He slammed Israel for not creating a single new Arab city since 1948. He criticized the lack of public transportation in the Arab areas. He called on the government to wake up before there is another Arab uprising.

MK Solodkin (Kadima) blasted the housing crisis and the lowering of various “social” funding across all of the ministries. She slammed the government for its position towards the working lower class.

MK Tiviaev (Kadima) said he believed a budget should be fair, supportive and transparent and have integrity and promote justice. He said that he was saddened that this was not the case with this budget. He complained that the younger generation is left helpless with the housing shortage and has no immediate answers except waiting. He attacked the raising of the indirect taxes and asked if next we will be taxed for air consumption. He blasted the reduction of hours in the school week and the reduction of money for people who live on national welfare. He said he was saddened that the budgets for the elderly and holocaust survivors were cut severely.

MK Zahalka (Balad) said he liked the fact that he was the last speaker of the day. He attacked the government’s position that lowering income tax will help the poor. He said this budget is another in a long trend that brings Israel further away from its socialist roots and towards capitalism. He attacked the raising of indirect taxes. He said that even though Israel is now in the OECD they finish last in most OECD financial tables. He attacked the government funds spent on supervising kosher products and said that it would be better to do so for the Muslim community. He criticized the lowering of the higher education budget. He noted that Israel finished only in 41st place in the public schools tests. He called on the government to change their ways and go back to socialism and separate church from state.

Deputy Speaker Akunis (Likud) announced that although the session finished at 21:12, twelve minutes later than scheduled, the session would begin tomorrow at 9 AM as specified. The MKs adjourned to enjoy their now less than twelve-hour recess before returning for the final day of budget talks, which would include about 250 votes.