Lapid Wouldn’t Wait for Netanyahu on Budget

YERUSHALAYIM -

Finance Minister Yair Lapid refused to wait for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to return from his China trip before disclosing details of his new budget, Globes reported.

Netanyahu reportedly wanted to be in the country when the austerity measures were announced, but Lapid insisted on releasing proposals a week ahead of cabinet discussions.

Government regulations permit the finance minister to circulate the budget report as few as three days before the cabinet meeting. However, a source close to Lapid said on Thursday, “The dates are not optional.”

Ministry of Finance officials backed Lapid’s decision, saying that, with the agreement of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, the ministers would receive the budget material, because of its importance, no less than a week before the start of discussions.

“This is what was agreed with Weinstein, and this was the right thing to do,” said a top official.

Globes noted that Netanyahu’s absence meant that Lapid had to absorb a storm of criticism alone, which in turn has given rise to criticism of Netanyahu, as though he had “fled” the scene. Then Netanyahu issued a belated message of support for Lapid.

The prime minister’s office has so far had no comment.