Israel’s Gov’t Fails to Halt Sprint Toward 4th Election in 19 Months
To no one’s surprise, Israel’s coalition partners Likud and Blue and White failed on Wednesday to reach an agreement regarding the postponement of the budget deadline, leading to the seemingly inevitable dissolving of the government next week and another general election. If a budget isn’t passed by August 24, the government will be disbanded automatically, triggering the new election. The coalition’s plan to delay that deadline hit a snag after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu demanded to first appropriate millions of dollars to ultra-Orthodox institutions before agreeing on a budget to prolong the government’s life. The move was nixed by Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, who feared Netanyahu would use the money to appease the ultra-Orthodox partners of his right-wing bloc, thereby ensuring their support to break off the budget talks and head for elections in three months. The ultra-Orthodox parties, usually loyal allies of the prime minister, are not currently in his pocket, as they fear that dismantling the government without procuring their desired budgets first would hurt their constituents and their own political standing.