Israel’s Finance Minister Says Threat of Another Early Election Has Passed

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Finance Minister Yisrael Katz at a press briefing, July 2020.
Finance Minister Yisrael Katz at a press briefing, July 2020.Credit: Emil Salman

Finance Minister Yisrael Katz said Saturday that “the threat of an election has passed,” amid concerns that failure by the government to pass a state budget could trigger an election, which would be the country’s fourth in less than two years. 

Katz told Channel 12’s “Meet the Press” that lawmakers, presumably from his Likud party and its main coalition partner, Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan, were dealing with final details adding: “When the two sides understand there is no election, then there is no election.”

A bill delaying the deadline to pass the budget passed a preliminary vote in the Knesset on Wednesday with the support of both parties. 

The bill must still pass three more readings in order to become law. The 100-day extension, proposed by lawmaker Zvi Hauser, would delay the August 25 deadline until mid-December. 

The main dispute blocking the passing of a 2020 budget is the demand by Gantz to pass a two-year document, as stipulated in his party’s coalition agreement with Likud, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is demanding that a budget be passed that only covers the remainder of 2020.