BigMo’s Blog

Politics and Economics in Israel

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Houston, I think we have a budget

Prime Minister Netanyahu succeeded in passing his proposal to change the way the state’s budgets are passed, when it bothers to actually pass a budget.  It’s now April, two months since elections and four months into 2009 and still no budget.  So, I guess this is some kind of achievement.  Likud was compelled, by parliamentary procedure, to endure a Kadima-led filibuster in the Knesset plenum that lasted a staggering 21 hours before it could savor the flavor, though.

A 21-hour boycott!  Wow!   Like, that’s a lot, isn’t it BigMo?  To better put this in context and split an infinitive in the process, consider Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia.  He’s been in the US Senate for something like three centuries.  He’s filibustered about 125 years!  Half the time, he doesn’t even know he’s doing it.  It’s just reflexive, like when the doctor hits your knee with the rubber hammer.  Once, he even filibustered one of his own bills.  The man is legendary.  And don’t get me started on Strom Thurmond!

However, this is Israel and when anybody who draws a paycheck from the government – aside from our military – actually does something that looks even suspiciously like work might have been involved or at least thought of, well, people take notice.  By the way, that doesn’t include the four public servants I call “friend,” and from whom I might need to ask for a lift to the airport next week.  You guys are just peachy!

The loyal, but none-too-bright, oppostion

Kadima MKs requested amendment after amendment and delivered long-winded speeches about soccer (sorry, too late, you’re not getting that demographic) and the forthcoming Passover holiday (ditto) in deliberations that started on Monday at 11am and did not finish until Tuesday at 8am. Holy matzoh meal, Batman!  Don’t they ever have to move their bowels?

Meretz MK Ilan Gilon spoke from the Knesset rostrum about his diet, Kadima MK Nachman Shai read the soccer scores and Kadima’s Yohanan Plessner sang a song he wrote about Netanyahu to the tune of the Pessach song Dayeinu.  What creative minds (for six year olds)!  How is it possible they are in the opposition?  Could we possibly send them to run the government of Syria or Iran for a couple of weeks?

Habayit Hayehudi MK Zevulun Orlev reportedly took pictures of MKs sleeping in their chairs and all over the Knesset chambers.  What a character!  If he had any real initiative, he could have put-up at least a dozen settlements inside Nablus or TP’d Nachman Shai’s house.

So shat’s the skinny?

The proposal called for approving the state budget every two years, instead of annually, because it’s such hard work!  It also extends the deadline for passing the 2009 budget from mid-May until July. Or maybe even later. Who knows?  I mean, we just worked 21 hours over the last four months.

Does this mean I don’t have to pay taxes until July?  Maybe they’ll decide to cancel income taxes.  Wouldn’t I be a fool for having paid them?  The bill passed its final reading Tuesday morning, with 63 MKs in favor and 27 opposed.  Ta-da!

I’m sure that if a pay raise was involved, there’d be a budget vote tomorrow without so much as a coffee break to delay matters.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of, uh, defeat

Former finance minister Ronnie Bar-On of Kadima – who did nothing for three months while 50,000 people lost their jobs – declared Kadima the victor of the night.  Ronnie didn’t do well in math or bother to pay attention when his colleague was reading the soccer scores.  “The Kadima-led opposition proved its determination and its impressive perseverance in its parliamentary struggle against the Likud,” Bar-On said.  Impressive perseverance?  They’ve been in the opposition for a whole week!

It was so impressive that the English-language edition of Ha’aretz, the left-leaning daily newspaper that makes Al Jazeerah look like it’s published by Theodore Herzl, ignored the non-event.  They chose to run with a story about how the polar bears in the Ramat Gan zoo were given a “special” meal of carrots and matzah for the Pessach holiday.  I’m not an expert on polar bears, but I can tell you what they’d like to see next on the menu: bone-headed zoo-keepers!  Maybe Roni Bar-On, too.

Unfortunately, Kadima politicians have been slinging this same dreck at the public for years.  Just last week  Tzipi Livni declared that, like Moses, she would lead Kadima through the desert.  Based on the size of her rear-end, I’d say she hasn’t been in the habit of walking anywhere in some time.  First try walking to the salad bar and past the dessert bar, honey.  Then we’ll work on sharpening up those survival skills.  Toss you in with the polar bears for a week.

April 7, 2009 - Posted by | Middle East | , , , , ,

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