Lapid: Netanyahu is Dragging Israel into Elections

Finance Minister says elections are a waste of money which could be rerouted to solve housing, cost of living crises.

Ido Ben-Porat , | updated: 10:47 AM

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Alex Kolomoisky/Flash90

Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's intentions to hold elections on Tuesday morning, calling the move "unnecessary" after a tense meeting Monday night. 

"The Prime Minister decided last night to lead Israel into unnecessary elections," Lapid fired. "He is dragging the country into this without a need to do so, only so that he could strike a deal with the hareidi parties."

"This is an inexcusable national irresponsibility," he added. 

According to Lapid, the billions of shekels spent on new elections could be used, instead, to bolster the Israeli economy. 

"We could add funds to the social budget, add billions to education, health, welfare, internal security, [and] provide a boost to the national housing program on the grand scale [. . .] and give young couples a discount of more than 200,000 shekels with the 0% VAT law and through price controls," he continued. "This budget would also see the additions of billions to the IDF and Defense establishment." 

But instead, Lapid insisted, Netanyahu has chosen an 'easy way out' by turning to the hareidi parties for support.

"Instead of lowering the cost of living, transferring funds to social causes, improve the salaries of the middle class and helping the disadvantaged - the Prime Minister would rather raise taxes and pay now shekels of the Israeli middle class into the haredi parties' pockets." 

Lapid's criticism follows a failed meeting with Netanyahu Monday night, during which the Prime Minister gave him an ultimatum: accept five conditions set forth to follow through on budgetary transfers, freeze Lapid's own 0% VAT bill, and stop attacking the coalition over Netanyahu's decisions regarding construction in Jerusalem and relationship with the US. 

Analysts say the conditions may be nearly impossible to fulfill, leading to widespread speculation that Netanyahu might dissolve the Knesset or form some sort of alliance with the hareidi parties.