Israel’s Gov’t Steps Back Off Ledge, but Only Barely
Israel’s impossible political landscape received a possible temporary reprieve, after coalition partners Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minster Benny Gantz announced they would both agree to pass a bill postponing the budget deadline, currently set to expire in 14 days. If the deadline is reached and no budget is passed, the government will be automatically dissolved and elections will be held. If a budget is voted through, or the deadline is delayed, the sputtering government will, somehow, live to see another day. To pass a deadline postponement, a specific bill must be voted on four separate times, and while Netanyahu has verbally committed to supporting this procedure, seldom few in parliament take his word for it. The consensus around Jerusalem is that the prime minister is still looking for an out before resigning and handing the reigns over to his rival Gantz in November of next year, as he vowed to do in the coalition pact signed in May. The budget talks themselves stalled thanks only to Netanyahu’s attempt to back out of his agreement to pass a biennial budget, which would afford the government some much-needed stability and guarantee Gantz would get his turn as prime minister in 14 months. As it stands, and with Netanyahu’s corruption trial looming in January, the chances of a fourth election cycle in 18 months remain quite high.