Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to refuse to agree on the country’s budget – this is in fact a bid for the collapse of the ruling coalition and the next, already fourth, elections, which may be held in November. This was the Prime Minister’s reaction to friction with Defense Minister Beni Gantz on the annexation of the Jordan Valley and internal coalition issues.
The focus on the collapse
On July 22, friction between Beni Ganz and Netanyahu almost led to the collapse of the ruling coalition – the ultra-Orthodox parties Yahadut ha Tora and the Shas threatened to withdraw from it. The reason for the split was the Knesset’s discussion of a bill to ban reparative therapy (one of the methods to change a person’s sexual orientation, including through electroshocks). Therapy is considered illegal in most EU countries. However, in Israel, as political scientist Mark Novikov notes, it is widespread, especially in religious circles.
The vote on this issue led to a split in the ruling coalition: the Ultra-Orthodox opposed the ban on therapy, Cahol Lavan voted “for” and the Likud party abstained. As a result, the ban was passed by a majority vote (42 against 36).
On the same day, disagreements arose between Netanyahu and Gantz over the adoption of the country’s new budget. According to coalition agreements, it was planned to adopt a two-year draft budget. However, Netanyahu stated that it was only necessary to adopt a one-year budget.
At the same time, according to statements by Israeli media, the prime minister threatened: if “Cahol Lavan” disagrees, it is possible to organize the fourth elections in November this year. Later, Netanyahu himself said that rumors about the intention to hold a vote are absurd. However, the friction with Gantz over the budget has not cooled it down.
– The only reason for us to go to new elections is if we do not adopt a new draft budget by August 24. So far, my coalition partners have refused to accept it,” Netanyahu said.
Prime Minister’s Adviser Ariel Bulstein told Izvestia that the ruling coalition, and Likud in particular, are not in favour of a new parliamentary election. It would be irresponsible to hold them in a pandemic, the politician stressed. However, he added: if “Cahol-Lavan” party continues violating coalition agreements, the country will have to go to the next vote.
– The government of national unity is based on the coalition agreement. The CHL has violated it by supporting the opposition’s proposal,” the Prime Minister’s advisor stressed.
The annexation will take place.
Ariel Bulstein also noted that there is no specific date yet for the beginning of the extension of Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria (West Bank territory). But this will happen in the near future. Initially, it was assumed that the accession of Palestinian territories would begin on 1 July. However, on July 3, Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Integration Pnina Tamano-Shata noted that the extension of sovereignty was postponed because of the coronavirus.
On 8 July, Ahmed Al-Majdalani, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Secretary-General of the Palestinian Popular Front, announced that Israel would begin its annexation at the end of the month, from 26 to 30 July.
Ariel Bulstein was unable to confirm the dates.