Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the Knesset, May 16, 2011. Photo by Daniel Bar-On
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Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin announced Saturday his decision to bring to a vote the initiative of deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, to cancel the Knesset's summer recess, in light of the protests that have been sweeping the country over the past 16 days.

Yishai said in response that "this is a welcome and necessary step. Those elected by the public have to be recruited in order to deal with the problems that the entire population deals with. I hope that the Knesset will approve this initiative."

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni also called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Rivlin to cancel the recess. "The Knesset needs to keep working," said Kadima chairwoman. "Fixing what is happening on the streets has to be done through the Knesset."

Meanwhile, Netanyahu's plan to set up a team to examine lowering indirect taxes came under attack from all sides of the political spectrum.

"Netanyahu is under pressure," sources in the Likud party said. "Once again it has become clear that he bows to pressure and acts out of weakness and not as a leader."

Earlier Saturday, Likud MK Ofir Akunis said Netanyahu is setting up a team to examine the lowering of indirect taxes, which would lower the costs of gas and electricity and lower customs duty.

"This is (Netanyahu's) latest spin," said Likud MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen, who also chairs the Finance Committee. "The public is sick of announcements, all these processes should take place quietly," he told Haaretz.

"Netanyahu's panicked behavior brings to mind Mubarak before his downfall," said Meretz MK Zehava Galon. "We are tired of empty promises and fake initiatives." MK Dove Khenin from Hadash said "the people demand social justice. The policy of the Netanyahu government is to enrich the tycoons and hurt the majority of the people, and it should go home."

Netanyahu's aides responded Saturday by saying that "if we didn't take this step we would have been called indifferent… This is not about pressure, it's about the fact that Netanyahu is attentive to the people's needs," they said.