Gantz's Party Mulls Push to Dissolve Israeli Parliament Amid Clash With Netanyahu

Head of Kahol Lavan's Knesset faction says Likud 'pushing us' to election, as budget stalemate continues and Netanyahu angered by corruption inquiry

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Benny Gantz (L) and Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to a Home Front Command base, September 2020.
Benny Gantz (L) and Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to a Home Front Command base, September 2020.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Defense Minister Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party put forward a vote to dissolve the Knesset because of disagreements with coalition partner Likud, Eitan Ginzburg, chairman of the party's Knesset faction, said Tuesday.

Ginzburg told Army Radio that "Likud is pushing us" to an election – which would be the country's fourth in two years – and that party leaders are mulling a number  of options, such as dissolving the Knesset and forming an alternate government.

Gantz, who also holds the title of alternate prime minister, announced this week that he had established a commission of inquiry into the so-called submarine affair – allegations of misconduct in the government's purchase of naval vessels from Germany's ThyssenKrupp. He acknowledged that the decision to establish a commission could be interpreted as political, but said that it was also "a serious matter that is worthy of examination."

Asked by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper whether he would support dissolving the Knesset before the deadline for passing the state budget on December 23, Gantz said that he was “not willing to bear the responsibility of a nonfunctioning government … Netanyahu is thinking first and foremost about his trial.”

Ginzburg, for his part, said that Gantz did not establish the commission with an eye to an election: "Something like this isn't established overnight," he said. "He is working on it for quite some time." The Kahol Lavan lawmaker called on members of Likud to "come to their senses and pass a budget."

On Monday, Netanyahu slammed Gantz's decision to form the commission, claiming that it was "shameful for Gantz to use the Israel Defense Forces" for political reasons. The prime minister argued that Gantz had formed a biased commission solely for political gain. Interior Minister Arye Dery also spoke out on Monday, saying that he had supported the unity government created by Likud and Kahol Lavan, but that "in light of recent behavior, I am doubtful that there is justification or use to continue this partnership," and called on Gantz to reverse his decision to form the commission.

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