Ze'ev Elkin
Ze'ev Elkin Photo: TPS

Minister of Higher Education and Water Resources Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) on Monday criticized Defense Minister Benny Gantz who spoke in the Knesset and called for the approval of a budget, while threatening to dissolve the government.

In his remarks, Gantz stated that if a budget for 2021 is not approved by December 23, the coalition will not be able to continue to exist.

Elkin, speaking to in an interview on Radio 103FM, was unfazed by the remarks, claiming that "this is classic Gantz."

"Because of the lack of experience he has, he even forgot to check how much it is even possible. Even if Netanyahu calls Yisrael Katz and says, 'From now on, the Ministry of Finance does not deal with anything, not even coronavirus problems, but focuses all its efforts on approving the 2021 budget urgently,’ it cannot be done according to the law and the timetable of working in the government and the Knesset before mid-February," added Elkin.

Elkin rejected arguments that the process can be expedited due to the state of emergency, insisting that "it cannot be done faster, certainly when we are talking about a deadline of December 23 in mid-October. Therefore, either Gantz did not actually look into what he is talking about, or he is pushing a spin that even he knows is impossible. A third possibility is that he has already decided to go to elections and he is ‘committing suicide’ before our eyes and nothing else matters. It is precisely because we are at war [against the coronavirus] that we should be serious and not throw spins in the air, and the statement about approving a 2021 budget by December is a spin."

Elkin was asked how he felt in the face of the Likud’s significant decline in the number of seats in recent polls, to which the Minister of Higher Education replied, "When we went to elections the first time we were at 30, I also remember when we had 27. The Likud is still the largest party in the State of Israel, even according to the worst polls. Obviously I do not take this lightly, the problem is clear, we are in a difficult situation, both health-wise and financially, and in such a situation the public always rightly demands solutions from the government. When the situation is difficult the public blames the government, and it does not matter whether another government would have handled it better or not. From the public's point of view, whoever the government is today, the public blames it."

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