The blue-and-white trap: Frightened by elections, unwilling to give up a biennial budget

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div>Blue and white have been the subject of panic in recent days, following the tension over the failure to approve Netanyahu’s annual budget and the fear of running in the elections following him. The party’s position is unequivocal: a biennial budget should not be waived, all Knesset members are aligned on the matter and will not present a position that gives it up in favor of the annual budget (several months long) set by Netanyahu.

Sources in the party told “Israel Today” that “we will not compromise on the short budget for the simple reason that it is not serious. Netanyahu uses Corona’s excuses to pass an annual budget. But we want a regulated and long-term budget plan.”

Netanyahu at a meeting of the Likud faction in the Knesset // Photo: Knesset Channel

In blue and white, they try to present a picture according to which they are not afraid of going to the polls, but beneath the surface the tension exists and understand that the party will not be in power and many ministers will have to part with their portfolios and even vacate their seats in the Knesset. Party officials commented on the delicate situation and said that “we do not want elections, but it is important for us to keep the citizens and allow a good economy. The word election is far from us now and we are busy doing.” Recall that yesterday many reports claimed that in blue and white intend to withdraw from the requirement for a biennial budget, but the party denied this intention and even claimed that there were no Knesset members who raised such an idea.

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Many senior officials in blue and white told Israel Today that they do not want to go to the polls, but that Israel needs economic stability and a biennial budget.

The Minister of Civil and Social Affairs at the Ministry of Defense, Michael Bitton, told Israel Today: “At a time when we are facing the corona crisis that will remain with us for at least the next year, the State of Israel needs political, social and economic stability. “Certainly when an economic plan was drawn up for the year ahead. The State of Israel must not be reduced to elections when we face the biggest economic, health and social crisis we have known. Whoever does so will be held responsible and I am convinced that the public will take him into account.”

Meanwhile, in an attempt to neutralize the election threat posed by it, MKs Yoaz Handel and Zvi Hauser will raise a bill today (Monday) seeking to postpone the deadline for the transfer of the budget.

“Playing with election threats, while Israeli citizens are kneeling under the burden and we are at the height of the corona crisis, is hampering the state’s ability to function for its citizens in a three-month budget debate. This is not the time for narrow political interests,” Minister Handel said at a cabinet meeting yesterday.

Minister Handel // Archive photo: Gideon Markovich

MK Hauser later responded to him: “Anyone who thinks that it will be possible to deal with the corona virus, influenza in the winter and in addition to putting Israel on the ballot in elections – does not understand what we are facing. The wave we are facing now is minor compared to the one that is expected to come. Only a unity government can handle the task. “Political certainty must be created and a budget transferred to Ofek, as quickly as possible.”

Zigzag of estimates

In blue and white, it will be recalled, they demand a biennial budget, while Netanyahu and the Likud demand an annual budget. Yesterday, senior Likud officials claimed that, to the best of their knowledge, blue and white were “on their way to folding” and agreeing to an annual. “Blue and white understand that if they do not agree to an annual budget, an alternative coalition could be formed and they will be wiped off the political map.”

In blue and white, they strongly deny the reports and statements of compromise on their part, emphasizing that they still insist on passing a biennial budget. Minister Zeev Elkin added in this context that “in light of the lack of clarity in the economy, we were prepared to transfer an annual budget, and that is what needs to be done. If blue and whites torpedo it, they will drag us to the polls.”

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Deadline: end of August

Yesterday, “Israel Hayom” published the words of a senior Likud member against Ganz. “He says he will do everything to prevent elections, but the only thing needed to prevent them, to pass a budget, he does not do. Bnei Gantz should fully support the budget for a period of four months, as recommended by all the best professionals and economists in the world, but he refuses to do. “It would be better for Gantz to stop linking personal political considerations to national interests.”

The state budget is expected to pass by the end of August. If he does not pass, the State of Israel – by law – will have to go to further elections. There has been a great deal of mistrust between the parties in recent weeks. In blue and white, it is claimed that Netanyahu does not like the current government, does not want to transfer the priesthood to Gantz and will therefore dismantle the government.

The Likud says that Netanyahu is not interested in the election, and the insistence on an annual budget is in accordance with the recommendations of senior finance and economists in light of the uncertainty during the Corona period. Despite the crisis, both sides estimate that they will eventually reach agreements and that the State of Israel will not reach an election at this time.