Knesset Member Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) leveled fierce criticism at the government over its plan of an additional bi-annual budget. Speaking at the Knesset plenum on Monday the former finance minister claimed the move is redolent of "a tactic employed by Hitler to consolidate his rule in Germany."
The unusual attack was made during Knesset debates ahead of a second reading vote on the bi-annual budget bill. The Kadima faction is planning to drag the debate on using a filibuster until noon Wednesday.
Bar-On based his statements on an analysis given by law professor Claude Klein in the Knesset for a similiar move, 11 years ago. He quoted Klein, who addressed the Knesset Constition Committee in July 1999 and criticized a plan by the Ehud Barak government to amend the Government Basic Law using a temporary order in order to increase the number of ministers.
"Hitler received his wide-reaching authorities in March 24, 1933 in a well-argued temporary order such as this," Klein said at the time. Bar-On noted that the constitutional problem posed by the law's approval is extremely disturbing and insinuated the matter may reach the High Court of Justice.
The MK also relied on statements made in 1999 by current Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is the one who submitted the current budget proposal.
MK Moshe Gafni, chairman of the Finance Committee, who personally opposes the bi-annual budget, admitted he was forced to compromise in exchange for tighter control by the Knesset.
Bar-On responded, "All of the advantages you present are only meant to save the headache of approving the annual budget at the government's convenience. The real motive here is the government's attempt to limit the Knesset's supervision with a belligerent coalition. The government is only looking out for itself."
He further added, "This is an unacceptable punishment for the Knesset. There is no other democratic country in the world apart from Bahrain which opted for a bi-annual budget."
The debate is slated to go on through the night, perhaps even throughout Tuesday.