State Budget Could Topple Coalition

Yerushalayim -
israel coalition government
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid at a Cabinet meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sunday. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

The state budget is widely assumed to be a principal test of government stability. But two senior Yamina party officials believe it will be more difficult to maintain coalition coherence once a budget is passed.

Following an Israel Hayom report that Washington plans to hold off on discussing sensitive issues like the Palestinians until after a state budget is passed, a Yamina official said some of the demands the White House is expected to make could lead to the government’s dissolution. He noted White House plans to reopen a de facto embassy to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, in what would offer de facto recognition of Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state, in particular, as a development that could spark sharp reactions from right-wing members of the coalition, leading to the government’s demise.

Another senior official from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s party spoke in a similar vein, noting the state budget was one of the main reasons the parties in the coalition, with their opposing worldviews, agreed to come together in the first place.

The Yamina official said that as soon as the budget was approved, disagreements would rise to the surface, making it harder to overcome internal tensions.

On Sunday, the government was set to approve the appointment of Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar to the role of minister without portfolio and Meretz MK Yair Golan as deputy finance minister. Both Avidar and Golan were vocal critics of the previous government for its wastefulness.

Coalition sources explained Avidar’s appointment to minister without portfolio as part of the political process leading up to passing the state budget.

“It’s true that someone who uses pressure and threats should get slapped and not appointed, but unlike [Yamina MK Amichai] Chikli, Eli Avidor is fine. As a rule, we prefer a loyal soldier from Yisrael Beytenu to someone who causes problems,” the source said.