A last-ditch effort was underway to prevent the dissolving of the Knesset which will happen automatically at midnight on Dec. 23, just days away, if the parties do not come to terms.
The two leading parties, Likud and Blue and White, have not been able to come to a consensus on a budget. These parties based their coalition agreement on the passage of a budget by Dec. 23.
Benny Gantz, Blue and White leader and alternate prime minister who was hoping to serve in the premiere role in the fall of 2021, wanted to pass a two-year budget to ensure that he could get the top spot. According to his agreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, they would switch roles after 18 months. Of course, Benny Gantz is probably the only one in Israel who actually believed, Netanyahu, the longest serving premiere in Israel’s history, would ever actually allow him to become Prime Minister.
Netanyahu has been pushing for a one-year budget, which will place the government in the same position of uncertainty in less than a year from now, but would give him the ability to dissolve the government before Gantz takes over. A two-year budget would ensure that Gantz would become prime minister.
But instead of what could be the government’s last cabinet meeting and last chance to save the government, Netanyahu canceled Sunday’s meeting saying that the coronavirus cabinet will be meeting instead to consider placing restrictions the population due to a spike in COVID infections.
In the meantime, political jockeying has continued in anticipation of possible elections. Gideon Sa’ar, a top Likud lawmaker left his party and formed, New Hope, party he will lead to run against Netanyahu. He was joined by a second Likud member, Yifat Shasha-Biton, who has become popular in recent months for her leading of the Knesset coronavirus cabinet.
“We are embarking on a path of unity and hope that Israel needs so very much,” Sa’ar said. “Together, we will bring a better future to Israel.”
Sa’ar’s party shot up in the polls after Shasha-Biton announced this week she would be joining Sa’ar. Their party would come second to Netanyahu’s Likud, 27 to 23 according to the first poll released after Shasha-Biton made her announcement.