Is Lapid Trying to Dismantle the Coalition?

The controversy regarding Israel's budget heats up: Lapid and Netanyahu's associates accuse the other of trying to break the coalition.

Cynthia Blank,

Lapid and Netanyahu
Lapid and Netanyahu
Flash 90

The cabinet meeting planned for today (Sunday) was cancelled by the Cabinet Secretariat. The purpose of the delay, they explained, was to allow Prime Minister Netanyahu and Finance Minister Lapid to meet to resolve the financial crisis. 

Following Operation Protective Edge, Netanyahu has argued for increasing the security budget and decreasing Israel's deficit. Lapid, who was criticized for raising taxes soon after he came to office, has stated that he has no intention of passing a budget that will negatively affect the middle class. 

Sources close to Netanyahu blame Lapid for the current dissensus, arguing that the steps he is taking are actually an attempt to dissolve the coalition, and force new elections, where he hopes to become Opposition Leader. 

Conversely, Yesh Atid, Lapid's party, claims the delay is only due to professional disputes, and that Netanya is creating an "imaginary crisis" in order to serve his political needs.

Netanyahu and Lapid are expected to meet in the afternoon on Tuesday to discuss the budgetary demand for additional funds for the Ministry of Security. The amount is 11 billion shekels more than Lapid initially wished to assign to security. The meeting, which will deal with Lapid's intentions to deepen the deficit and not to raise taxes, will also be attended by Karnit Flug, the Governor of the central Bank of Israel, as well as professional teams from the Ministry of Finance. 

Lapid's associates claimed, "If Netanyahu wants Lapid to sit as the head of the Opposition, then he can raise taxes and eliminate the 0% VAT plan. Lapid is not willing to give up these two items of his agenda."


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