Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90
Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin at the podium.

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin (Likud) on Monday told Reshet Bet radio: “As someone who has made a great effort to bring about unity and the formation of a stable government, the way things are going at the moment – it is impossible to work and run a country this way.”

On Sunday night, the Likud and Blue&White announced that they would support the bill submitted by the Derech Eretz faction, comprised of former Blue&White MKs Yoaz Handel and Zvi Hauser, to postpone the state budget by 100 days. This will not resolve the disagreement between PM Netanyahu and Alternate PM Gantz on, respectively, an annual vs. biannual budget, but it will push off the crisis by three months and change. In other words, let’s stick to the procrastinator’s golden rule of why do now what you can do 100 days from now.

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Shas chairman Aryeh Deri already announced that his party would support the 100-day reprieve law.

Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, August 9, 2020. / Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is facing another hurdle this week: Yesh Atid and Meretz are expected to submit to a plenum vote a bill banning a person facing criminal indictments from becoming prime minister. The bill intends to plug a hole in the Basic Law: Government which states clearly that a prime minister presented with a criminal indictment while in office is not compelled to resign, but says nothing about a person who wants to cobble together a government while under such indictments.

The bill will fail, which means that no such legislation may be submitted in the next six months, definitely advantage Netanyahu.

Speaker Levin said in Monday’s interview that this government is facing many paralyzing problems on top of the budget disagreement. “All the issues concerning the day-to-day functioning of the government – time and time again it is revealed that even simple decisions cannot be made. So what has been agreed is just a postponement of the date of the budget vote and nothing more, it will be a Band-Aid and won’t provide a real solution.”

“Such a move must be part of trying to reach a broad consensus on all the controversial issues, in order to embark on a real path of working together,” Levin said. “If there will be such an agreement, it will also make sense to complete the postponement process – otherwise this is truly pointless.”

On the possibility new elections, Levin said: “Everyone who deals with the issue understands that Israel needs a stable government, and that elections will be a very big mistake. But at the same time I can say that a conclusion must be reached that would make it possible to work, because the way things stand today it doesn’t look good, it’s not working, and in my view it can’t continue this way either.”

Finance Minister Israel Katz told Reshet bet radio Monday morning: “The legislative initiative to postpone the deadline for submitting the budget to a vote is one step in the right direction. This is not the time for elections. As I have suggested, we should submit at once the second, complementary step, and immediately submit the Arrangements and Reforms bill to a preliminary vote and continue the dialogue.”

The Arrangements Law is a government-sponsored bill presented to the Knesset each year alongside the State Budget Law. It incorporates government bills and legislative amendments that are needed in order for the government to fulfill its economic policy. The law is also referred to as the “Economic Policy Law” and the “Israeli Economic Recuperation Law.”

Blue&White stated that “the party congratulates the Likud on its response to maintaining political and public stability in Israel. Blue&White will do everything in its power to prevent imposing the terrible elections on Israeli citizens in the midst of one of the most serious crises in the country’s history. We will support amending the existing law, in a way that will allow the creation of a budget for the rehabilitation of the Israeli economy. The citizens of the State of Israel deserve the best certainty and stability at this time, and we will continue to strive to that end.”

That’s one big paragraph to describe a 100-day delay.

A senior Likud official told News 13 that “as promised, Netanyahu is doing everything to avoid elections and reach a solution that will allow the government to continue working and make the necessary decisions to fight the corona, including transferring a budget of billions to help Israeli citizens.”

He continued: “The Likud believes in an immediate annual budget to help citizens and businesses emerge from the crisis. We agreed to accede to the request of the Derech Eretz faction to give one last chance for to compromise. “This is not the time for politics, this is the time for unity and fighting the corona, and this is what the prime minister is doing.”

See you in 100 days.

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