Gantz: New Elections Better Than Dysfunctional Government

YERUSHALAYIM -
Defense Minister Benny Gantz arrives to the Knesset, on Wednesday. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool via Reuters)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White Party, said on Motzoei Shabbos that the rift between him and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is almost certain to lead to another round of elections and that the Knesset will soon be dissolved.

In a video address posted on his social media page on Friday, Gantz said that while fourth elections in two years was hardly ideal for the country, it was still better than a dysfunctional government.

Gantz said that on Sunday he will meet with the Finance Minister Yisrael Katz and will stress that a budget must be passed immediately.

Katz also took to social media to say that he intended to present the budget plans to Gantz during the meeting, accusing the defense minister of playing politics.

He said that he still intended for the 2020 budget to be passed by the December 23 deadline.

Gantz-led Blue and White seek a budget that would cover both 2020 and 2021, fearing that Netanyahu could torpedo the approving the 2021 budget to set off government dissolution the coming year and thus derailing the rotation with Gantz.

Earlier this week, the Blue and White joined the opposition in approving the first reading of a no-confidence bill that could set off a new election.

Speaking on Channel 13 on Motzoei Shabbos, Gantz accused Netanyahu of putting his own interests before those of the country, of excluding Blue and White from governmental processes and of acting as if he was heading a Likud-led coalition rather than a unity government.

“Netanyahu has wasted half a year of public trust. The reason we’re heading to elections is because he chose to take us there – when he put his own issues before the interests of the country,” said Gantz.

“The country doesn’t need elections, but Netanyahu has not advanced anything,” he continued.

Gantz ruled out passing a budget for 2020 alone, as Netanyahu is demanding, instead of passing the 2021 budget at the same time, as was agreed in the coalition deal between Likud and Blue and White.

“Does it sound reasonable to pass a budget for one week?” he asked, in reference to the fact that there is less than a month left of 2020, and the economic demands of 2021 are already pressing.

In response to Gantz, who made similar comments in a separate interview on Channel 12, the Likud issued a statement saying “Gantz is in a panic because of his party’s position in the polls, and therefore, is giving desperate interviews.”