Netanyahu and Gantz
Netanyahu and GantzReuters

The Knesset’s Finance Committee is moving forward with a critical vote which could make or break the ruling coalition government, a haredi lawmaker said Sunday, giving the government just hours to reach an agreement on the bill.

MK Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism), who is serving temporarily as Finance Committee chairman in the absence of MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) after Gafni underwent a medical procedure, said Sunday that the Likud and Blue and White have until 9:00 p.m. Sunday night to reach an agreement on Zvi Hauser’s (Derech Eretz) compromise plan which is aimed at preventing snap elections.

Hauser’s bill would delay the deadline for passing a state spending plan – currently set for Monday night – by 100 days, giving the Likud and Blue and White the opportunity to settle on a budget.

The Likud has called for a single-year budget, citing the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic, while Blue and White has insisted on a two-year budget, as prescribed by the coalition deal.

The two sides have yet to agree on Hauser’s bill, with the Likud calling for changes in the current spending plan – including funding for Religious Zionist schools - it says are necessary during the 100-day interim period. Blue and White has refused to accept the changes, demanding Hauser’s bill be voted on with no modifications.

MK Pindrus said Sunday afternoon the Finance Committee would not delay voting on Hauser’s bill, giving the Likud and Blue and White until 9:00 p.m. to reach an agreement, adding that the committee will vote on the bill whether or not a deal is reached in time.

If no agreement is reached by 9:00 p.m., Pindrus added, it will ensure snap elections – Israel’s fourth in two years.

“If there isn’t an agreement, we’ll announce to the people of Israel that we’re going to elections.”

“We’ve gotten to a certain level of chaos, and we need to know what is going on,” Pindrus said, according to Channel 12.

Hauser’s bill, which would grant the government a 100-day reprieve from the budget deadline, would maintain 2019 spending levels, with modifications agreed upon by the Likud and Blue and White.

The bill would also freeze a series of high-level appointments in the judiciary – including for the state prosecutor – temporarily removing another major stumbling block for the government.