The Knesset voted Wednesday night to approve the appointment of two ministers from the newly-created Independence party. As the vote passed, MKs from Kadima whipped out cans of air freshener and began spraying the room, saying they needed to rid the place of “the stench of bad politics.”
The MKs were quickly escorted from the hall. At least one had to be physically removed.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin denounced the brief protest, which violated Knesset protocol. “You should be ashamed of yourself. You are a disgrace to Israeli democracy,” he told the protesting MKs as they were escorted from the hall.
Members of the coalition, however, appeared amused. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was seen chuckling at the outburst.
Kadima was protesting the creation of Independence, a party created this week by Labor head and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Several MKs went with him, leaving the historic Labor party in the opposition and facing an uncertain future. Barak has defended his decision, saying Labor had drifted too far to the left.
Following the protest, Kadima MKs said, “This is the most corrupt coalition agreement in the history of the state of Israel. Netanyahu and Barak are dragging the state of Israel into the depths, and bringing politics into the sewers... The government has no moral authority, and will soon lose its political authority.”
Likud responded in kind, with MKs saying, “For the next three years Kadima will have its gimmicks, and Likud will stay in power. Likud will have government portfolios, Kadima will have police files.” Kadima has often been criticized over the large number of current and former party members charged with corruption.
Members of the Independence (Atzmaut) faction slammed Kadima as well, saying, “Kadima is the last party that should lecture about public corruption. [MK] Meir Sheetrit should look right and left at his friends, and then himself.”
Kadima, like Independence, was formed when a group of MKs from within a larger party – Likud – led by their party leader decided to create a new faction, leaving many members of the original party suddenly in the opposition.