Likud MK Ejected in Rowdy Welcome for Mofaz

Shaul Mofaz becomes Opposition Head, blames gov't for economic woes. Likud MKs heckle him.

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Gil Ronen,

Knesset plenum
Knesset plenum
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Knesset held a special session held in the midst of its spring recess Monday in order to appoint MK Shaul Mofaz as Head of Opposition -- and it was stormy one.  

After Knesset Speaker MK Reuven Rivlin announced newly-elected Kadima leader Mofaz's new status, Mofaz delivered a speech to the plenum.

"I am proud of the right I have received, to speak here as Chairman of the Kadima movement and Head of the Opposition," he said. "This is a weighty mission and I intend to treat it as such. I have received the right to serve the citizens of the state and pose a practical alternative."

Mofaz sought to capitalize on the recent fuel price increases. "A government cannot be content with blind leadership that depends on the price of a barrel of oil," he said. "The government is not responsible for the rise in the price of a barrel of oil, but it is responsible for the rise in the price that the consumer pays. It is responsible for indirect taxation that affects the price of gas at the pumps."

"When one looks at the overall equation, the government has the responsibility and the ability to dampen the blows that land on Israel's citizens every week. The government can also regulate electricity prices.

"Israel is governed by a government that takes so much and gives so little," he accused, and Speaker Rivlin had to silence a storm of invective from hecklers. When Mofaz said the price of gasoline should be brought down to 7.00 NIS, MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) interrupted him and asked: "How many social laws have you legislated?"

Mofaz said the government would pay for its empty promises in the next elections – and received a torrent of abuse from MK Danny Danon (Likud). MK Akunis began heckling Mofaz again and was eventually ejected from the plenum.