Minister of Higher Education and Water Resources Zeev Elkin (Likud) spoke this morning (Thursday) with Nissim Mash’al and Guy Peleg about the coalition crisis following the budget dispute.
Elkin rejected the claim that the purpose of the annual budget is to leave an opening for elections before replacing the prime minister with a rotation.
According to him, the Likud is not trying to lead the State of Israel to further elections, “the crisis can be resolved in a minute, there is a state budget prepared in the Ministry of Finance, it can be put to a vote within two days, almost everything is closed there.”
Interviewer Nissim Mashaal wondered: “I hear this slogan from Likud members, the prime minister is violating an agreement with Blue and White that the budget will be biennial, and it is clear that the consideration is not economic. Why not tell the truth to the public? “The minister replied cynically:” And for Ganz, the consideration is net economic. ”
Elkin explained that when preparing the annual budget, “all the top officials of the Ministry of Finance said clearly and unequivocally that it is right to go first to the annual budget, and then to make the 2021 budget.” Two months ago, a budget was prepared in the Ministry of Finance. It is true that when an agreement was drawn up, that we were on the verge of the first wave of the Corona, the plan was to make a biennial budget, as usual. After all, the one who introduced a biennial budget was Prime Minister Netanyahu from 2009 and since then we work with biennial budgets. But it turned out that we are on the verge of a second wave, that there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the question ‘What will happen economically in 2021?’
Guy Peleg noted that since the country’s economic elite has changed its position. And that 15 leading professors in economics clearly say that a biennial budget should be passed, and wondered if these were tricks and sticks again, as he put it.
Elkin replied: “It’s not a matter of tricks and sticks. I’m in charge of non-formal education, youth movements do not know what they do in September, how do they start a year? Because they do not know what the budget is. A community center company does not know what it operates and what it does not. Because neither we nor the Ministry of Education which is its main client is unable to give them. You need to understand the meaning – government ministries are currently paralyzed. If we approve the biennial budget, it means that it will be approved by the Knesset at the end of December. “At the beginning of October, in a very short period of time, we can give certainty this year to all the bodies that the state works with, if we move to an annual budget.”
“As someone who accompanied this issue about two months ago, we spent two months because of Ganz’s insistence. As a minister in the government, in terms of the areas for which I am responsible, making this change now and postponing budget approval until the end of the year is a disaster.” He stressed: “If we wanted an election we would not have formed this government. We were in the polls in a much better position a few months ago when the government was formed. We do not want an election, it can be resolved in a second,” Elkin added.
Nissim Mash’al: The solution is for Gantz to surrender? Is that the condition, he will say ‘you are violating an agreement and I applaud’?
“Almost all the blue-and-white people I’ve talked to, that’s what they say in chambers. That they don’t understand why he insists, and that it makes no sense to insist. They say that about him.”
“There is a large public that is against us ideologically-politically”
Later, he referred to the protest demonstrations in front of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s residence. Guy Peleg wondered how he sees the protesters, and allowed him to choose from 4 options: “1. Aliens; 2. Hedonists who live in luxury hotels and immigrate to demonstrate; 3. Disease spreaders; 4. People who are in pain and worried about their economic future.” Minister Elkin said: “We are in an abnormal reality where we are in fact violating people’s freedom of occupation, freedom to marry, but do allow thousands of people to demonstrate densely, without rules – I think there is a very interesting adherence to this principle that violates all principles. “Religion and freedom of occupation are fine to prevent the spread of Corona, but demonstrations can also be tens of thousands of people. I have no doubt that in the end there are gatherings of this amount it is dangerous at the Corona box office.”
On the other hand, he clarified: “Every citizen has the right to demonstrate, but I have no doubt that these demonstrations, for the most part, are political people. There is a large public in the State of Israel that is against us ideologically-politically, it is legitimate, its right to demonstrate. The vast majority of people are not the public who do not have a job, even though there are some. It is an absolute majority that wants to change government in the State of Israel, it is legitimate. “Whoever thinks differently from me to demonstrate, has to tell the truth. There are circles in the media that want to replace Netanyahu, and that’s fine too.”
Finally, Nissim Mash’al turned to the Minister of Higher Education, and asked: “Why was it important for the Council for Higher Education to approve a researcher from Ariel University?” To which Elkin replied: “I think the answer is very clear, it is an abnormal situation when we are fighting boycotts abroad, we here in the State of Israel are snoring a legal university here in the country. Therefore, I am very sorry that the Committee of University Leaders conducted a boycott campaign. The Council for Higher Education said a very clear answer against this pressure exerted on it, in an attempt to boycott Ariel University – ‘not to boycott’. I think it is definitely a victory that proves that Ariel University is like all other universities. ”