Last ditch effort to prevent elections

Likud and Blue and White agree to postpone deadline for approving budget by two weeks.

Hezki Baruch ,

Netanyahu and Gantz
Netanyahu and Gantz
Tomer Neuberg & Olivier Fitoussi / Flash90

The Likud and Blue and White parties have decided to advance a bill stipulating that the state budget for 2020 will be approved by December 31, 2020, and the state budget for 2021 will be approved by January 5, 2021.

According to the bill, if these budgets are not approved by the specified dates, the Knesset will be dissolved and elections will be held on March 23, 2021.

The bill is intended to allow for dialogue between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz until Tuesday evening. The Knesset will be dissolved automatically if no agreements are reached.

The Blue and White party said, "We will begin advancing the process and at the same time exhaust the efforts to bring about a functioning government, with a budget that millions of Israelis now need, appointments and maintaining the rule of law and the lack of influence of the Prime Minister on his trial."

"If understandings are not reached, according to which the coalition agreement will be fulfilled and the citizens of Israel will have a functioning unity government that is conducted through cooperation as required and while maintaining democracy and the rule of law, we will withdraw the bill and the Knesset will be dissolved next Tuesday," the party added.

Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman attacked the agreements between the Likud and Blue and White and wrote on Twitter, "Gantz - a reusable rag. That's what happens when the Knesset seat comes first."

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina) wondered how the coalition would pass the budget within five days.

"Blue and White tonight reiterated their commitment to preserving democracy, and in the same breath they make a mockery out of it, out of basic laws, and out of the Knesset, and now also seek to pass the 2021 budget in three readings in the Knesset in five days. There has never been such a thing and there is no chance in the world to hold a serious debate in the Knesset on a state budget in five days. Strange democracy..." he tweeted.

MK Ayelet Shaked said, "Just as I predicted (it was not difficult), a glorious caving by Blue and White and the transfer of the 2020 budget only. Netanyahu and Gantz are taking the state budget hostage over dubious political deals and turning the Basic Laws into plasticine. Israel deserves a new leadership.”