- A preliminary vote was taken in the Knesset to dissolve
- Fourth elections seem to be on the way
- Netanyahu blames Gantz – Gantz blames Netanyahu
The Israeli Knesset approved a preliminary vote on Wednesday on a bill to dissolve itself. This threatens to plunge Israel into a fourth elections in less than two years. The bill needs to pass three more readings before the fourth elections will be called. After the vote, the bill was sent to the Knesset House Committee for deliberation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz had formed a unified coalition to prevent a fourth election. However, Mr. Gantz is only willing to continue with the present government if a two-year budget is passed, as was the agreement between Prime Minister Netanyahu and himself.
Mr. Gantz claims that Prime Minister Netanyahu, by refusing to sign a budget, as was their agreement, is trying to prevent the second part of their deal from going in to effect. That is, that Mr. Netanyahu would step down after 18 months as Prime Minister and Mr. Gantz would take over.
Prime Minister Netanyahu was only willing to write a short-term budget. Mr. Gantz’s party, Blue and White, want to dissolve the government and take the country to new elections.
The Knesset House Committee will deliberate on Monday and revise draft legislation to complete the dissolution of the government. The vote to dissolve the government was sponsored by Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, from the opposition side, and was approved by Mr. Gantz of Blue and White. It was approved by a vote of 61-51, mostly on the basis of the disagreement about the budget.
Once the bill is deliberated and revised by the Knesset House Committee, it will be sent back to the Knesset as a whole for a full vote. Then, it will be sent back to the Knesset House Committee for further revision before it is sent again to the Knesset as a whole for the second and final vote.
Throughout the period when the unified government began, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz have had difficulty working together on many issues. If the government collapses because a budget has not been passed, Mr. Netanyahu would remain in his position for a three-month period during election campaigns, until a new coalition is formed.
After the preliminary reading, Prime Minister Netanyahu took the podium and spoke out against the bill. He said the nation needs vaccinations and not elections. He lambasted the heads of the major political parties, and even accused Mr. Gantz of being the thrall of opposition politicians.
He said, to his regret, Benny Gantz is being pulled into breaking off from the government by opposition leaders, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennet. In his speech, he listed the accomplishments of their unified coalition, such as the battle against Coronavirus and other diplomatic and defense agreements.
We have to put politics aside, he said, and think of the nation first. Mr. Gantz needs to put the brakes on stop, and stop this deterioration into new elections. The nation needs unity, Mr. Netanyahu said.
Mr. Gantz retorted that Prime Minister Netanyahu has done enough damage to the people’s economic, medical, and social lives. He claims Mr. Netanyahu is responsible for causing new elections.