Jerusalem Gov’t Nearing Point of No Return
Israel’s highest-profile divorce case, otherwise known as the Netanyahu-Gantz government, is entering its final – and evidently ugliest – phase. For the first time in years, the weekly Sunday coalition meeting was canceled, as the Likud and Blue and White parties failed to even agree on an agenda. An early election, most likely in November, seems like a done deal as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, buoyed by polls that show his right-wing bloc still in control, looks for any out he can find before the witness-hearing stage of his corruption trial kicks off in January. The pretext for dismantling the government, formed just this past May after three election cycles, is the failed budget talks, which have stalled as Netanyahu insists on passing a three-month deal instead of the agreed-upon biennial budget that Gantz demands. Saturday night, tens of thousands came out across the country to protest Netanyahu’s remaining in office while standing trial for charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust; as well as his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In Jerusalem, over 15,000 converged outside Netanyahu’s official residence in the largest demonstration held since the movement began more than two months ago.