‘A Very Bad Idea’: Israelis React to Prospect of 4th Elections (VIDEO REPORT)
Threat of fall vote hangs over country amid ongoing squabbling between ruling parties on state budget
Could an unprecedented fourth round of elections be in the cards for Israel?
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his coalition partner, Alternate PM and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, continue to squabble over the state budget, which is set to expire in less than two weeks.
The Media Line took to the streets of Jerusalem to find out what Israelis think about potentially heading to a fourth vote in less than two years.
“I think it’s a very bad idea because people in Israel need their money right now, especially with all this sickness,” said Dan, a resident of Jerusalem. “Anyway, nobody can compete with Netanyahu. He’s going to win big time.”
While Netanyahu appears determined to pass a one-year budget, Gantz has demanded it cover a two-year period as stipulated in the Likud and Blue and White parties’ coalition agreement. According to the agreement, Gantz is slated to over from Netanyahu as prime minister in the fall of 2021.
Israel has been particularly hard hit economically by the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 21% of Israelis currently unemployed.
Because of this, some feel as though the government is disconnected from the needs of everyday people.
“We don’t have nothing right now, we’re really suffering, all the young people,” Angelique, a caregiver and cosmetician, related to The Media Line. “I never voted and I don’t think I will vote one day because it’s all about money, money, money.”
Some blame both ruling parties – Likud and Blue and White – for the political instability that is plaguing the country.
“Even though I voted for Netanyahu in all the previous elections, all of these political parties [in power] are to blame,” Patricia, a factory worker, told The Media Line. “They are just trying to get more seats and more ministries without being flexible and without bringing the country to a better place.”
Others say Netanyahu bears the brunt of responsibility for the crisis.
“I blame only Netanyahu because he wants to pass a ridiculous budget that would only be good for the rest of 2020, which ends in four months,” Eyal, a bus driver with Egged, asserted. “Benny Gantz wants a budget also for next year.”
Still others have vowed to remain loyal to the prime minister and have accused his political coalition mates of fomenting political volatility.
“Elections won’t change anything,” said Yaakov, a Jerusalem resident. “I blame Gantz and his Blue and White party. If we have another vote, Netanyahu will just win again so what’s the point?
“There’s no point in wasting money on this and we shouldn’t have more elections,” he added.
Regardless of who Israelis believe is to blame for the coalition infighting, a fourth round of elections would cost Israel billions of shekels and be a blow to its economy, which is already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.