Knesset Speaker Yuli Eidelstein on Monday announced that if nothing is done to prevent new elections, they will be scheduled for Monday, March 2, 2020.
Previously, discussions had been held regarding moving the date up to February 25, but this initiative encountered problems since according to Israel's Basic Law: Elections, elections must be held 90 days after the Knesset dissolves.
The next possible date is March 3, 2020, but on the Jewish calendar, that date, the seventh of the Jewish month of Adar, is the day when Israel marks a memorial day for IDF soldiers whose place of burial is not known.
Eli Ben Shem, chairman of the Yad Labanim memorial organization for fallen soldiers, requested that different date be chosen, and his request was supported by Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) and Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud), Israel Hayom noted.
The holiday of Purim falls the week after that, on March 10, preventing elections from being delayed a week, and the haredi parties pointed out that March 17 marks the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, when many hasidim fly to Poland to visit his grave.
Delaying the elections by three weeks, to March 24, angered those in the Knesset who wanted to hold them after less than 90 days.
Edelstein said: "Even when it seems that the chances of preventing these unnecessary and expensive elections are nil, we will not begin the process of dissolving the Knesset until Wednesday, in order to allow the party heads to recover at the eleventh hour, a moment before it is too late."