Gantz Shuns Compromise: If Netanyahu Doesn’t Get in Line, Israel’s Headed to an Election

The Knesset’s legal counsel clarified on Tuesday that the date for its dissolution, in the event that the budget isn't approved, is midnight on December 23

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Benny Gantz leaves after a vote on the dissolution of the Knesset, in Jerusalem, Dec. 2 2020.
Benny Gantz leaves after a vote on the dissolution of the Knesset, in Jerusalem, Dec. 2 2020.Credit: Alex Kolomoisky/Pool via AP
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Friday that he does not intend to compromise with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the passing of the long-contested 2021 budget, which threatens to send Israel to a fourth election in under two years.

"If Netanyahu, who has violated the agreement between us time and time again, doesn't get in line – we will go to an election and make sure that he won't be prime minister," Gantz wrote on his Facebook account.

“There won’t be any compromise,” Gantz added.

Over the past few days, no progress has been made whatsoever in talks between the two parties.

The Knesset’s legal counsel clarified on Tuesday that the date for its dissolution, in the event that the budget isn't approved, is midnight on December 23. 

Regarding reports that Netanyahu is demanding the removal of Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, Gantz added, “We will continue to strengthen all our key positions and to use our equal power.”

According to Gantz, Kahol Lavan will only remain in the government if it works to combat the coronavirus pandemic and the “epidemic of division and factionalism.”

The failure to move forward with the budget became a legal issue after Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit told Netanyahu, Finance Minister Katz and Gantz last month that the government must approve the budget quickly because it is already in violation of laws setting the time-frame for presenting not just the 2020 budget but the 2021 budget as well.

Under the law, the government must submit the budget at least 60 days prior to the start of the new year in order to give lawmakers enough time to debate it.

“This is all the more true as long as there are plans to include in the budget legislation proposals for structural changes and fiscal legislation, which require an additional Knesset time,” Mendelblit wrote.

Gantz is accusing Netanyahu of failing to live up to the coalition agreement, which clearly states that the budget will be updated throughout the duration of the government in keeping with the state of the pandemic and its economic implications, specifically at the beginning of 2021.

Meanwhile Netanyahu is blaming Gantz's Kahol Lavan party of breaching the coalition agreement "from day one," giving as an example the defense minister's decision to form a commission of inquiry to probe the so-called submarine affair that has plagued the premier.

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