JERUSALEM (Nov. 22)
Citing a recent report that increasing numbers of Israelis are falling below the poverty line, Likud Knesset members have brought a no-confidence motion against the governing coalition of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
But by a 10-vote margin, the Rabin government survived the motion in a Knesset vote Monday night.
While no-confidence motions are not infrequent in the Knesset, this was one of the few occasions when the motion was prompted by domestic issues.
The report by the National Insurance Institute showed that poverty had increased by 9.7 percent from 1991 to 1992, during which time Likud was governing the country.
Forty-nine Knesset members voted against the motion, while 39 supported it. Nine Knesset members who usually vote with the coalition abstained.
Representatives of the fervently religious Shas and Agudat Yisrael parties, along with members of the Communist-led Hadash party, were among the abstainers.
Shas had promised not to vote with the opposition in return for votes by some Labor Party members last week against two human rights bills that were opposed by Shas.
Eli Dayan, chairman of the Knesset coalition, had urged coalition members to attend the vote.
He said Likud “is the last organization that can complain about the increase in poverty. In the 15 years of its rule, poverty increased greatly.”
Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban agreed that the statistics from 1992 were largely the responsibility of the previous government.
But he warned that the figures for 1993 were unlikely to be much different and that they “will be our responsibility.”