Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
(L-R) Yaakov Litzman, Aryeh Deri and Moshe Gafni at Ramada hotel in Jerusalem, February 16, 2017.

Senior officials of the two Haredi parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, said they would make it clear to Netanyahu that going to the polls following a break over the budget outline would result in the Haredis’ refusal to support him during the election campaign, Resher Bet radio reported Tuesday morning.

This could effectively terminate a five-year period of alliance between the Haredi parties and Netanyahu.


The same senior officials said they would send this message threatening to end their long-standing alliance to Netanyahu, which includes, among other things, their refusal to sign letters of support or declarations of commitment to the rightwing bloc.

They must be aware that a former loyal member of the rightwing bloc, Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party, has already been shoved to the opposition.

Among other things, the Haredim said they would ditch their commitment to recommend Netanyahu to the president on the day after the election, in contrast to their previous election campaign promises.

The Haredi parties’ threat is a fulfillment of their commitment to Blue&White chairman and Alternate PM Benny Gantz, to be guarantors of the coalition agreement between the Likud and Blue&White and to do everything in their power to prevent new elections. Blue&White’s political future depends on avoiding new elections, seeing as all the polls, without exception, predict they would lose half their seats.

Nevertheless, Gantz is firm in his demand to pass a bi-annual budget, despite Netanyahu’s insistence that this could lead to a coalition breakup. This is because with a short-term budget Netanyahu would be free to break up the coalition on a whim and ditch Blue&White.

At the Blue&White faction’s meeting in the Knesset on Monday, Gantz made it clear to his colleagues that he would not change his position, “even if we pay prices,” as he put it.

Kan 11 News reported Monday night that the heads of United Torah Judaism, Minister Yaakov Litzman and MK Moshe Gafni, met—each one separately—with Gantz in an attempt to persuade him to compromise on the budget. But Gantz told both of them that he insisted Netanyahu abide by the coalition agreement, and both meetings ended without agreements.

According to Haaretz, coalition officials have in recent days sent Gantz’s associates a compromise proposal designed to prevent the dissolution of the Knesset at the end of the month. If a national budget is not approved by August 25, or if that date is not postponed by the Knesset, the Knesset would be dispersed and elections would be held in November.

According to the compromise proposal, the government would approve a two-year budget for the years 2020-21, as Gantz wants, but the Knesset would only vote on the budget for the current year at this stage.

See y’all at the polls twice this November, then?


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