Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with the man gunning for his seat, Naftali Bennett, at the Knesset plenum, November 13, 2017.

Former Defense Minister and current Knesset member Naftali Bennett told Israel’s Channel 13 on Monday night that there was “absolutely” no guarantee that he would join a Likud-led government in the event of a new round of elections. Bennett heads the right-wing Yamina Party, which did not join the current coalition due to a dispute over portfolios.

Netanyahu “abjectly failed in dealing with the coronavirus and one million [unemployed] Israelis are paying the price,” Bennett said. “For four months, there was no plan in place. This is one of the worst governments in the history of the State of Israel.”

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Bennett also stated that though he opposes sending the public to the polls for an election in the middle of the current crisis, if the number of new coronavirus patients reaches 10-20 per day, “We should get rid of this government.”

Talk of what would amount to a fourth round of Knesset elections since April of last year has heightened recently, due primarily to a disagreement between Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz over the time period of the national budget. Netanyahu wants it to be a one-year budget; Gantz, who heads the Blue and White Party that is in a national unity coalition with Netanyahu’s Likud, wants the budget to be for two years.

According to the coalition agreement, if the budget is not passed by August 25, the Knesset will disband automatically and new elections will be called.

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