Herzog and Tibi
Herzog and TibiMiriam Alster, Flash 90

A Knesset plenum debate over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's proposal to increase the size of the cabinet ended Wednesday morning, and votes for the second and third reading are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. 

Before the debate ended members of the Opposition issued strong critique of the Prime Minister, in a last-ditch effort to stop the bill, despite the likelihood it will pass by a slim 61-MK majority.

"Good morning Binyamin Netanyahu," Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog said. "Instead of solving the country's problems, the Prime Minister is selling the country, intending to waste half a billion shekels to keep his Knesset members calm."

"In a country with a bunch of extremists at the helm, the Prime Minister is like the manager of different pressure groups, each one hanging up the telephone until they can squeeze out more deputy minister and budgets."

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman also attacked Netanyahu's coalition, stating it was a "real paradise" to speak without limitations, and calling the upcoming government "particularly obnoxious."

"Forty percent of Dimona residents voted Likud, and I have heard no Likud MKs discuss the area. In recent days, 14 people were killed in automobile accidents; is anyone talking about this? They're only talking about portfolios...everybody is busy with ministers and deputies."

"The problem with this government," Liberman continued, "is that is has no sense of taste or smell. It has no future, no hope, no dream. With this we will have to live, and I hope we will only life with this for a short while."

The former foreign minister also warned Jewish Home it should be prepared for a sudden alliance between the Left and haredi parties when the United States came and forced Netanyahu's hand on the Palestinian issue. 

MK Ahmed Tibi of the Joint Arab List also slammed the idea of expanding the government.

"The government is making a circus so that the number of buckskin seats will be at least 22," Tibi accused, before turning his attention to the Zionist Union and Herzog. 

"This government will go from narrow to even smaller if the Zionist Union joins it," Tibi argued. "The public wants MK Herzog's commitment that he will not save it, not today, and not in six months."

"This is an extreme right-wing government that the Prime Minister didn't want. He was being blackmailed by another minister who has only eight MKs and who squeezed him for every last drop," Tibi declared, in an obvious reference to Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett.