Gantz and Netanyahu
Gantz and Netanyahu Oren Ben Hakoon

A senior Likud official warned Wednesday afternoon that the ongoing budget battle between the Likud and the Blue and White party has become intractable, and will ultimately lead to the dissolving of the 23rd Knesset by the end of the year and snap elections early in 2021.

Speaking with Arutz Sheva, the senior Likud official blamed Blue and White for the dispute, which was divided the government for months.

“Blue and White’s behavior will lead to new elections in March. That’s the way things are looking.”

As part of the coalition deal following the March 2020 general election, the Likud agreed to pass a two-year spending plan.

Since the worsening of the coronavirus pandemic and the imposition of two lockdowns, the Likud has argued that a two-year budget cannot account for the changing spending needs and dwindling state revenues.

But Blue and White has insisted the Likud honor the coalition agreement and pass a two-year budget covering the remainder of 2020 and all of 2021.

The budget battle nearly led to snap elections this summer, which were avoided with a compromise agreement put forth by Derech Eretz MK Zvi Hauser.

The arrangement pushed off the deadline for passing a spending plan, giving the government until December 23 to come up with a budget.

Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused Blue and White of ‘spinning’ the budget issue.

“Right now, during the coronavirus pandemic, I call on Blue and White to stop with their spin and restore the unity [in the government] and work with us on behalf of the citizens of Israel.”

Gantz replied shortly thereafter, saying: “Prime Minister, if you really want to work together for the people of Israel, prove it. Pass a state budget.”