Lawmaker From Gantz's Party: More 'Thinking of Quitting Netanyahu Government'

MK Miki Haimovich says critical days lie ahead as tensions continue to escalate between coalition partners in the wake of Kahol Lavan minister's resignation

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Kahol Lavan lawmaker Miki Haimovich at the Knesset in Jerusalem in April 2020
Kahol Lavan lawmaker Miki Haimovich at the Knesset in Jerusalem in April 2020Credit: Shmulik Grossman / Knesset Spokesperson

Israeli lawmaker Miki Haimovich, a member of Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party, said on Sunday evening that there is a growing group in Kahol Lavan that is considering dismantling the partnership with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"In recent days, there has been a growing group in Kahol Lavan that is definitely thinking about the option of even dissolving," Haimovich said in a radio interview with Israel's Kan public broadcaster.

Haaretz podcast: Israel in lockdown limbo, and what's really stuffed in Bibi's laundry suitcasesCredit: Haaretz

"A responsible dissolution of the partnership. Not to give up on the centers of power, but to act to replace Netanyahu." She said that "Kahol Lavan will need to insist on its demands and the actions it seeks to take. From the budget to the appointment of the state's attorney and the police commissioner."

Haimovich added that she thinks that "we stand before crucial days." When asked whether the partnership would be dissolved in the coming days, Haimovich said: "We'll see how things move forward."

On Friday, Tourism Minister Asaf Zamir announced that he had informed Gantz of his resignation, citing lack of trust in the prime minister and his leadership.

Netanyahu and Gantz at the Home Front Command headquarters in Ramle, July 2020Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

“I can no longer sit in a government led by someone I have no trust in,” Zamir wrote in a Facebook post. “Many times, I voted against the government’s decisions, but I bear collective responsibility for them even if I opposed them.”

Last week, Zamir voted against new regulations that bar protesters from traveling more than a kilometer (0.6 miles) from their homes to attend a demonstration. The regulations have since been approved and enacted by the government, and in their wake, tens of thousands took to the streets to protest in hundreds of demonstrations across the country Saturday night.

For several months, Israelis have been protesting against what they perceive as Netanyahu's abuse of the pandemic to enact restrictions that would help him evade his trials.

Since Zamir’s resignation, Netanyahu's Likud party and Gantz's Kahol Lavan have traded barbs, and tensions have continued to escalate between the two main coalition partners.

Later on Friday, Gantz argued in a statement – without mentioning Netanyahu by name – that his party had joined the coalition to battle the coronavirus, not democracy and the rule of law.

"The attempts to harm the lives of protesters alongside riots against police officers make it necessary for us as a government to restore order," Gantz said, announcing he had instructed Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn to begin the process of appointing a new State Prosecutor. He also called to appoint a permanent chief of police.

"Anyone who doesn't like it can set a date for another election," the statement concluded.

Netanyahu's Likud party said in a tweet following Gantz's statement: "Kahol Lavan are part of the government and act against it. It's time they decide whether they are fighting the disease or fighting the government."

Likud accused Gantz's party of "playing a game of politics on the backs of Israeli citizens," citing the latest resignation, the attendance of a Kahol Lavan lawmaker at an anti-Netanyahu rally this week and "the breach of the coalition agreement" by calling to fill senior positions.

Likud also accused Zamir in response of "fleeing the battle [against the virus] only to garner votes for the local elections in Tel Aviv," adding that "Kahol Lavan have to decide whether they are working in unity in a government that is fighting the coronavirus, or whether they continue to create chaos within the government and thus harm the actions required for the benefit of the citizens of Israel."

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