Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday evening met one on one with Finance Minister Yair Lapid amid the ongoing crisis in the coalition.
During the meeting, Netanyahu told Lapid that the coalition cannot continue as long as Lapid and members of his Yesh Atid party constantly attack the government of which they themselves are members.
The Prime Minister then set five conditions to Lapid that he must meet in order for the coalition to continue functioning:
- To stop attacking the coalition, including his criticism of Israel’s construction in Jerusalem and its relationship with the United States.
- To transfer 6 billion shekels to the defense budget for training purposes, as well as for development of Iron Dome systems and armored personnel carriers.
- To release the budget for the IDF’s move to the Negev as previously agreed. On Sunday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon froze the project, saying the Treasury had reneged on its promise to transfer the funds.
- To support Netanyahu’s version of the Jewish State Law, based on the principles presented by the Prime Minister at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
- To freeze the 0% VAT bill that Lapid has been trying to pass.
Analysts believe that the conditions are nearly impossible for Lapid to fulfill, particularly the fifth one which calls for him to freeze the 0% VAT bill which he has been pushing, and that therefore early elections are inevitable.
In fact, officials at Yesh Atid said following the meeting that Lapid does not intend to change his mind regarding the 0% VAT bill.
Yesh Atid: Netanyahu prefers personal interests over public interests
In an official statement published by the party shortly after the meeting, Yesh Atid accused Netanyahu of “leading Israel to unnecessary elections”.
“Once again tonight, the Prime Minister chose to act irresponsibly and put the needs of the Israeli public at the end of his list of priorities. Netanyahu prefers a deal he made with the hareidim calling for early elections over the interests of all the citizens of Israel,” the statement said.
“Israeli citizens understand today that the country is headed by a Prime Minister who does not meet his obligations. A Prime Minister who prefers his personal interests over the public's best interest.”
“The Prime Minister's demands for Yesh Atid reveal his clear political interests and his commitment to the members of the Likud Central Committee, to foreign interests and to public activists.”
“The Prime Minister prefers to drag the entire economy into elections that will paralyze the economy, will stop all the reforms designed to benefit the citizens of Israel and prevent young couples the opportunity to buy their own apartment with the realization of the 0% VAT law,” said Yesh Atid’s statement.
“Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid is determined to continue and fight for the citizens of the State of Israel and the Israeli public's right to receive a social budget with billions of shekels for social ministries and without raising taxes, and to promote a broad housing plan for young couples in Israel,” the statement concluded.
Monday’s meeting came after a series of crises between Netanyahu and his coalition partners, particularly Lapid.
The never-ending disagreements have led to speculations that Netanyahu might dissolve the Knesset or form some sort of alliance with the hareidi parties.