Coalition partners snub Barak in no-confidence vote

Shas and NRP ministers and deputy ministers were absent from the session, whereas the entire Yisrael Ba'Aliyah faction boycotted the vote.

Likud and United Torah Judaism, which are not members of Barak's coalition, voted no confidence.

It was the second time that Shas' Knesset members have voted no-confidence in Barak, as they continue to remain disgruntled over what they view is a lack of powers given to their party.

The three parties also recently voted against the government in a preliminary reading of the Likud bill that would require a special majority of registered voters in a referendum on the Golan Heights.

In Monday's vote, three Shinui Knesset members, including its leader Tommy Lapid, opposed the government.

The education minister said he was "ashamed and embarrassed" that the study of the poetry had caused such political hysteria. Sarid said Israel should study the culture of its neighbors.

In a slap against Barak, Sarid added said that the prime minister, like others, also does not believe that the time is ripe for the study.

"This is beautiful poetry," Sarid said. "What is this Darwish fear that has overtaken us? What has happened to our self-confidence?"

Lapid quoted what he said is Darwish's original version of a poem as saying: "Get off our land." This is an extremist nationalist Palestinian, Lapid added.

Another no-confidence motion, filed by the Arab parties over the decision to grant an early release to Yoram Skolnik, who serving a life sentence for murdering a bound Arab prisoner, was rejected by a vote of 67 to 11.