Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, declared on Monday that he would not agree to any changes in the make-up of the current coalition, even if that means holding elections.
Liberman’s declaration, made during a Yisrael Beytenu toast in honor of Rosh Hashanah, came amid tensions between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid over the state budget for 2015.
“To all those who talk about changes, there is only one change - it’s either the current coalition or new elections,” he said.
The Foreign Minister added that there were moves behind the scenes to dismantle the government but did not elaborate.
"It's no secret that there have been a lot of attempts to change the coalition, there were many inquiries, many temptations, to replace one party with another, or changing everything and building a new government," Liberman said.
“All the speculations can be found in the Israeli media. We think that in this era of security upheaval in the Middle East, adding a political upheaval is irresponsible,” he added.
Netanyahu last week called for an increase of "many billions" of shekels in defense spending following Operation Protective Edge, while Lapid has downplayed the expense of the operation and pushed for a modest defense budget.
The tensions led Netanyahu last week to suspend discussions over Lapid's controversial 0% VAT Bill that is opposed by hareidi and Arab parties, in a not-so-subtle move to pressure Lapid into greater flexibility.
Earlier on Monday, political sources told Arutz Sheva that Lapid is looking into the possibility of leaving the government and becoming head of the opposition. The sources revealed that several members of Yesh Atid spoke with members of the Arab parties and Meretz and asked if they would agree to make Lapid opposition head.
The move is allegedly prompted by disagreements between Lapid and Netanyahu over the budget, the sources said. Lapid wants Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to know that he is capable of leaving the coalition.