The Likud party on Monday evening welcomed the passing of the first reading of the motion to expand the cabinet, blasting those who were opposed to it as “hypocrites”.
“The opposition to the expansion of the government is hypocritical. First of all, the incoming government will be smaller than the outgoing government, in which there were 22 ministers. Secondly, the expansion of the government will save public money by increasing the stability of the government,” the Likud said in a statement.
The party further added that the additional budget required for a larger cabinet “is negligible in relation to the billions that are spent when the government goes to elections every two years.”
The Likud was particularly critical of Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman, who earlier on Monday accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of duplicity, claiming that a major source of friction between the two parties was the lack of attention paid to immigrants in Likud's coalition agreements.
“There is no limit to the cynicism of Avigdor Liberman. He attacks the coalition agreements regarding immigrants, after the Likud offered him, in the coalition agreement, an additional 500 million shekels to resolve the issues related to the pensions of immigrants. But Liberman chose to go to the opposition contrary to his promise to his voters. The Likud government under Netanyahu will act for the benefit of immigrants even without him,” said the Likud.
The motion to expand the cabinet passed in the Knesset on Monday evening, but not before a heated debate and ongoing criticism of Netanyahu by the opposition.
Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog suggested that repeat elections would be better for Israel than Likud rule, before threatening to cripple the new government.
The High Court gave the Knesset the green light to discuss the law despite an appeal from Yesh Atid. Approval of the second and third readings will likely take place on Wednesday.