With tensions high in the Knesset amid concerns that the state budget will, or will not, pass its third reading this week, Arutz Sheva has learned of more “outreach” made by Likud party officials to members of the coalition, attempting to woo various individuals into the opposition camp with promises of senior government positions if the current government falls and Likud gets another shot at building a coalition.
This time, the target is MK Abir Kara of the Yamina party, currently a deputy minister. Kara, Arutz Sheva has learned, has been offered a ministerial seat in a future Likud-led government, if he votes against the budget.
Various extra-parliamentary bodies have also been exerting pressure on coalition MKs in an attempt to convince them to break ranks. MK Yomtob Kalfon has reportedly come under intense pressure to vote against the budget.
“You have an opportunity to save the State of Israel and yourself too,” Likud officials reportedly told Kara. “Bennett and Shaked will take care of themselves once the Yamina party falls apart; Silman is signaling to Yesh Atid; Orbach will return to the Jewish Home party, and you’ll be left without a political home. But your natural place is with the Likud.”
Likud officials also told Kara that if he votes in favor of the budget, he should at the very least disband the Yamina party and establish a separate party together with MK Amichai Chikli and another Yamina member who is also considering jumping ship.
Israel has not passed a budget for several years now, and failure to do so by the current government will automatically lead to its dissolution. The budget is due to be voted on in its second and third (final) readings in the Knesset this week.
Given that the coalition has the backing of just 61 MKs, it needs the support of each and every one of them in order to pass the budget, if the entire opposition votes against – as is expected. (MK Amichai Chikli, still a member of the Yamina party for technical reasons, is almost certain to vote “against,” - his would have been the 62nd vote for the government had he not effectively cut himself off from his party.)
The government is also attempting to prepare for the possibility that one of the members of the United Arab List will defy coalition discipline and vote “against.” Therefore, it is conducting quiet negotiations with members of the predominantly Arab Joint List, which is similarly plagued by internal rifts, with the hope that they can be persuaded to absent themselves from the vote on the budget.