Olmert gives record-short Knesset speech

Ehud Olmert, challenged in the Knesset to defend his government’s policies, offered a response of record brevity.

The Israeli prime minister was called to parliament Wednesday to hear a series of no-confidence motions lodged by the political opposition.

Following speeches attacking the government, a vexed-looking Olmert delivered a perfunctory summary of his diplomatic and domestic plans.

Ending his response, which is required by law, he said, “I was once a young man, and I have grown old in the House, and never have I seen or heard such an amorphous, groundless and pointless debate. It serves no purpose other than undermining the Knesset’s stature.”

The entire address took less than two minutes – a record, according to veteran Knesset watchers.

Olmert supporters said he had been busy with affairs of state, but his opponents cried foul and said they looked forward to challenging the unpopular leader in elections.

“It looks like we will soon be trading places,” opposition leader and prime ministerial hopeful Benjamin Netanyahu said in his remarks addressed to Cabinet ministers in the Knesset.

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