If Crisis Not Resolved, We Will Draw Conclusions

Netanyahu opened Cabinet meeting addressing tensions between Ministers. 'There is no day that passes without threats and ultimatums.'

Cynthia Blank,

Cabinet meeting
Cabinet meeting
Flash 90

The first thing on Prime Minister Binyamin's Netanyahu's agenda at his Cabinet meeting Sunday morning was the coalition crisis, Walla! News reported.  

"There is not a day that passes without threats and ultimatums," Netanyahu began the meeting, adding that, "I hope we can return to normal behavior," but warning that "if not, we will draw serious conclusions." 

Netanyahu did not explicitly address his remarks to any member of the coalition, but Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) laid blame directly on Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid). 

"He acts like a 16-year-old boy," Steinitz said at the beginning of the meeting. "He wanted to do everything on his own, but now he complains that no one is helping him. 

Lapid attacked Netanyahu earlier in the weekend during a cultural event in Tel Aviv. "The dramatic issues - the state budget, international relations, personal security of citizens, the housing issue - are all stuck in place, yet the Prime Minister is standing on the side." 

"Instead, he is dealing with politics, polls and survival," Lapid accused, going on to blame Likud central committee members for convincing the Prime Minister not to accept his budget proposal as well as the 0% VAT law

Steinitz was also not the only Likud minister to come out against Lapid on Sunday. In an interview with Army Radio earlier Sunday morning, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon criticized Lapid, responding to allegations Lapid had made about Ya'alon's deteriorating relations with the United States government in Washington. 

"If he has such great concern about the relationship with the US, then why, at a meeting on as subject as important as the new fighter aircraft (F-35) did he vote against the deal, thereby impairing the relationship with the US - this is not how a government representative should behave," Ya'alon said. 

"If there is an agreement that we worked on for two years with the Americans, how in the end can he raise his hand against it?" 

Ya'alon also accused Lapid of playing games with the defense budget. "We got a report that we were receiving an additional six billion shekels. We got less. Part of the defense budget went to pay for things that should have been funded separately. I carry this as a personal example, but it's happened across departments." 

Regarding the crisis in the coalition, Ya'alon actually agreed with Lapid that Israel does not need elections, but he stated that an air of elections is already being felt in the country. 

"I'm not afraid of elections. Likud should not worry because of elections, rather a situation in which a government cannot govern because of [misbehaving] coalition partners, who fail to govern at all." 

Further signs of the strain between Lapid and Netanyahu can be found in Walla! News' telling revelation that Lapid cancelled a meeting with the Prime Minister, scheduled in advance, for this past Friday. 




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