Three Days to Stave Off Election: Gantz Met With Netanyahu Rival Sa'ar

The Knesset is expected to dissolve by Wednesday if the 2020 budget is not passed

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
Benny Gantz and Gideon Sa'ar, December 2020.
Benny Gantz and Gideon Sa'ar, December 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwingenberg
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Defense Minister and Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz met on Saturday with breakaway Likud lawmaker Gideon Sa‘ar, three days before the Knesset is expected to disband.

The Knesset is expected to vote on its dissolution on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday if it does not pass the budget for 2020, or before that if the second and third Knesset votes for dissolving the parliament pass.

How COVID – and Israel’s Trump-brokered lovefest with Arab states – are affecting PalestiniansCredit: Haaretz

On Saturday evening, Kahol Lavan leaders said that the chances of avoiding election are 50-50 and that a decision would be made on Sunday.

Negotiations between Kahol Lavan and Likud in an attempt to avoid dissolution of the Knesset continued into the weekend. Any agreement the parties reach would have to be enshrined in law, but time is short for such legislation to be completed.

At this point it is unclear whether a majority of the coalition in its current makeup would vote in favor, because three Likud lawmakers and two Derech Eretz lawmakers, Zvi Hauser and Yoaz Handel, who joined Gideon Sa’ar’s new party, want election to be called as soon as possible.

There are also at least four Kahol Lavan legislators who are opposed to any compromise that would allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to continue in office and restrict the powers of Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn of Kahol Lavan.

Sources in Nissenkorn’s office said he has no intention of giving Likud the right to veto his decisions. If a decision is made to do so against his wishes, Nissenkorn might resign, therefore splitting Kahol Lavan’s Knesset representation into smaller factions, according to the sources.

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