Bill to Avoid Israeli Election Cleared for Final Vote

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu attend a weekly cabinet meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, June 14, 2020.
Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu attend a weekly cabinet meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, June 14, 2020.Credit: Sebastian Scheiner/Pool via REUTERS
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Knesset Finance Committee gave its approval to legislation that would extend the deadline for passing a state budget on Monday, setting the stage for the proposal to be put before the Knesset for a second and then final vote in the hopes of preventing the country from going to its fourth election in less than two years.  

The bill proposed by lawmaker Zvi Hauser is meant to avert dissolving the Knesset and a new election being called when the deadline for passing a budget passes at the end of Monday.

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Hauser’s proposal originally placed a 100-day freeze on appointments that must be approved by the cabinet, such as the state prosecutor. During these 100 days, a committee would be formed to discuss how the appointments will be decided upon. At this time, the government will focus on the coronavirus crisis and preparing for security challenges along the Gaza border and in the north.

The committee decided to change the 100-day extension originally proposed to a 120-day one, which would move the deadline to December 23.

A committee discussion on the proposal was suspended on Sunday to allow coalition partners Likud and Kahol Lavan to reach an understanding on the issue. The committee approved the proposal after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said later Sunday that he was accepting the compromise to extend the deadline.

The dispute over the budget has been around a demand by Kahol Lavan, the party headed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, to pass a two-year budget as outlined in its coalition agreement with Likud. Netanyahu's Likud, however, has sought to pass a budget only for the remainder of 2020.

Netanyahu said Sunday that the compromise "allows for the immediate channeling of funds to Israel's citizens and economy, and prevents the need for elections."

Committee member Bezalel Smotrich of the opposition Yamina party criticized the proposal, saying it would result in "further months of paralysis without a budget, without the country's ability to work as it should, and it postpones an election for just a few months."

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