בנימין נתניהו בני גנץ
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Gantz
Photo: Avi Moalem, Flash 90
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Gantz

Government may be dissolved due to coalition schism, says Likud bigwig

Official claims government unable to function due to recurring disagreements with coalition partners Blue & White, chiefly due to the state budget, but added that Likud is open to reinitiate negotiations

Moran Azulay |
Published: 08.19.20 , 19:18
A senior Likud official said on Wednesday that Knesset may be dissolved in the coming days as the schism with coalition partners Blue & White continues to grow.
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  • "This may be the 23rd Knesset's last Wednesday," the official said. "The business is not running. I did not have high hopes to begin with but I did not think it would get to this. It's impossible to work."
    בנימין נתניהו בני גנץבנימין נתניהו בני גנץ
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Gantz
    (Photo: Avi Moalem, Flash 90)
    "Will we go to elections on Monday? That would be terrible, but letting this situation persist seems even worse to me."
    "There's no use in continuing in this format if we cannot find solutions to what's on the table. Both parties agreed that there was no point in discussing any of the disputed issues, and since then there have been no contacts and no talks.
    The official also said that Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi's efforts to stop Israel from extending its sovereignty over Jewish West Bank settlements has also put a strain on the parties' relationship.
    "I can say loud and clear that the understandings [in the coalition agreement between both parties] have been grossly violated, not by [Defense Minister Benny] Gantz, but by Ashkenazi's moves on this issue. He did not miss a single chance to tell any international actor why this should not happen," he said. "It's not that the move did not happen because of him, but there is no doubt that this conduct was a violation of the most important thing in the agreement."
    גבי אשכנזי באולפן ynetגבי אשכנזי באולפן ynet
    Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi
    (Photo: Shaul Golan)
    The official also blamed Blue & White's Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn for blocking reforms to the judicial system that will see change in the way judges are selected.
    He also said that the parties are unable to agree on the way the government should handle the coronavirus epidemic.
    "From the beginning of the government's joint work, the prime minister and the health minister's actions have been blocked systematically. They send a message to the public that they oppose everything. It doesn’t only happen in Blue & White, and even a few in Likud are partaking in this."
    "Instead of realizing we should make some tough decisions, they try to please the public and they undermine the public's trust in doing so. We can have a debate for the sake of change, but not such populist conduct of people who wouldn't be acting this way had they had the health portfolio. Once there is no cohesion in the coalition, everything crashes. The guilt here falls on both sides and there is no argument that if you want the business to run you have to change it."
    ועדת הכספים על דחיית התקציבועדת הכספים על דחיית התקציב
    Knesset Finance Committee
    (Photo: Knesset)
    Deliberations on the state budget were abruptly ended Wednesday at noon after both parties failed to reach an agreement.
    Likud then issued a statement against Blue & White and accused Gantz's party of "blocking money essential for the start of the school year."
    "Blue & White are fighting the government once more while Prime Minister Netanyahu battles coronavirus. They stopped essential money for the start of the school year today in the Finance Committee, including programs for at-risk children and children in the periphery. Blue & White must stop interfering with the prime minister transferring a budget and opening the school year on time."
    The official said that Likud is open to reinitiate negotiations and did not rule out the possibility that both parties will agree on an extension to passing the budget to avoid elections.
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