Israeli Lawmaker Criticizes Peres' Costly Birthday Bash

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Not everyone was happy with Israeli President Shimon Peres' 90th birthday celebration gala Tuesday evening. Some Israelis said the money could have been better spent.

"Why didn't someone just get him a cake," one Israeli told CBN News.

With many Israelis struggling to keep up with the ever-increasing cost of living, spending 11 million shekels (about $3.4 million) on a birthday celebration, even a milestone birthday for a career public official, seemed a bit much.

Among the most outspoken critics was controversial Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, who called the event "pompous, wasteful, and pretentious."

Feiglin, head of Manigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership), is known for being outspoken.

At the beginning of May, the freshman MK suspended himself from the Likud coalition after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred him from visiting the Temple Mount. Netanyahu said he constituted a threat to public security at the site where the First and Second Jewish Temples stood.

Feiglin maintained that as an Israeli legislator, he has a right and a duty to visit the site.

But the Wakf, the Muslim trust responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Temple Mount, forbids Jews to worship or pray there, a privilege reserved for Muslims.

In practical terms, an official visit by Feiglin put Israel at risk of a confrontation. He maintains the Temple Mount is worth standing up for.

Feiglin does not support a Palestinian state within Israel and believes Israel should annex Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). In the 1990s, he actively campaigned against the Oslo Accords, placing him at opposite ends of the political spectrum with Peres, who played an active role in Oslo's diplomatic process.

Feiglin believes many of the problems facing Israel today sprung from the Oslo Accords.

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Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.