Netanyahu's Coalition Whip Says Gantz's Party Is a 'Danger to Israel'

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Coalition whip Miki Zohar at the Knesset in Jerusalem, July 20, 2020.
Coalition whip Miki Zohar at the Knesset in Jerusalem, July 20, 2020.Credit: Adina Velman/Knesset
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Coalition whip Miki Zohar of Likud said Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's main partner in the government, Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party, poses a "danger to Israel."

Zohar went on to say that Kahol Lavan “made a deal with Yair Lapid's centrist Yesh Atid party to establish a minority government with the Balad faction of the Joint List, an alliance of predominantly Arab parties.

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Zohar was responding to Lapid’s call on Kahol Lavan to support a no-confidence vote in the Knesset on Monday and establish an alternative government relying on the Joint List.

Zohar tweeted that Kahol Lavan is “no longer a coalition partner” because they have “gone back to the option of Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi,” referring to Joint List co-leaders. He added that Kahol Lavan are using an unloaded gun and are ready to risk all of us just because the opinion polls show they failed.”

Ayman Odeh speaking at a Joint List celebration rally in Shfaram, March 2, 2020. The party is set to have four women among its 15 lawmakers. Credit: Gil Eliahu

Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Zvi Hauser of Derech Eretz responded to Lapid on Twitter saying that “there will be no government here with the Joint List.”

Kahol Lavan also responded by saying: “Miki, even in Likud they don’t take you seriously. Keep on blabbing because that’s the only thing you know how to do, and even that, not very successfully.”

Gantz called this week on Netanyahu to prepare a budget for 2021 and bring it before the government and the Knesset by December. “You broke the agreement between us, don’t hurt Israel’s citizens,” Gantz wrote. Adding, “any thwarting of the budget means one thing: preferring personal considerations over the good of Israel’s citizens.”

If the budget is not passed by the end of December, the Knesset will dissolve and an election will be held in March. If a budget is only passed for the end of 2020, the budget for 2021 will have to be approved by March. Even in this case, if the budget is not approved, the Knesset will dissolve and an election will be held in June. If the Knesset dissolves due to the failure to pass a budget, the prime minister is expected to remain in office as head of a caretaker government.

Likud, responding to Gantz’s call, said: “Kahol Lavan continues to deal with small politics to divert the fire from their collapsing party, at a time when the prime minister is fighting the coronavirus. We would be glad to see Gantz resolve his internal problems, but not by starting quarrels that will lead Israel to an election.”