Likud and Blue and White Blame Each Other for Cancellation of Cabinet Meeting

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz speak during the weekly cabinet meeting, June 28. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

The Likud and Blue and White parties both say that Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting has been canceled and cast the blame on each other, in what appears to be a new low for the crumbling governing coalition.

“The cabinet meeting will not convene due to Blue and White’s refusal to put on the agenda a government economic assistance plan, by the prime minister and finance minister, to cope with the coronavirus crisis and amounting to NIS 8.5 billion, which includes assistance for at-risk groups,” the Likud party wrote on Twitter.

“The plan will create around 10,000 new jobs in the economy,” it added. “Likud demands from Blue and White to not prevent the transfer of funds to the citizens of Israel at this time, when coping with the coronavirus crisis.”

Blue and White responded to the charge, saying in a statement, “The cabinet meeting will not take place due to Likud’s insistence on not adhering to the coalition agreement.

“This is not the first time that the Likud has not stood by its commitments, and every other excuse is a complete lie to the Israeli public,” it said. “As for the finance minister’s plan, it is a multi-billion shekel, long-term plan that has not yet been fully presented and is not yet finalized. Attempting to put it forward between today and tomorrow is nothing more than irresponsible spin.”

With 17 days left to the budget vote and no agreement in sight, the tension within the coalition is hitting fever pitch. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has threatened to dissolve the coalition should Benny Gantz persist in the opposition to the proposed short-term budget covering only the rest of 2020. Gantz insists on a two-year budget as agreed in the coalition agreement the two signed in May.

Should new elections be called, they would be the fourth in under two years. According to the Blue and White officials, Netanyahu, who is currently on trial for multiple corruption charges, is seeking new elections in order to “evade justice.”