Rebel MK Chikli Says He Won’t Vote for Budget

MK Amichai Chikli. (Olivier Fitousi/Flash90)

Rebel Yamina MK Amichai Chikli said on Motzoei Shabbos that he would not vote in favor of the budget, potentially jeopardizing the survival of the government.

“I do not do the mathematics of self-interest, and there is no deal by which I will support the budget,” Chikli told Channel 12. He also said that his party had not tried to discuss the budget with him, and has not attempted to gain his support.

The government is complicating the effort to pass a budget, with the opposition of a single MK theoretically able to bring down the coalition.

Chikli claimed in the interview that the money set aside in the budget for projects in the Arab community would instead be used for “radicalization.”

“It’s a very dangerous budget, NIS 30 billion is going to be managed by the Ra’am Party and [its leader] Mansour Abbas, and that is a very bad thing,” he said.

Government officials have vowed to advance nearly NIS 35 billion ($10.3 billion) in total funding for the Arab community over the next five years in an attempt to compensate for decades of state neglect in Arab cities and to deal with skyrocketing crime.

Meanwhile, Channel 12 also reported that the opposition Joint Arab List Party is targeting Ra’am MK Mazen Ghanaim and attempting to convince him not to vote for the budget, and thus topple the government. The report noted that Ghanaim has been absent from a number of recent key votes.

According to the report, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh met with Ghanaim on the weekend and proposed to him that a bill would be submitted to establish a hospital in Sakhnin, the city of which the Ra’am MK was previously mayor.

The report noted that the Joint List was supported in its efforts on a “symbolic and superficial” level by Likud, but that the Likud would only lend its backing to the legislation at the preliminary stages.

On the other hand, the coalition has also been trying to gain the support of the Joint List so that it can pass the budget.

Channel 12 reported that the government is trying to convince the Joint List’s Ahmad Tibi and Osama Saadi to absent themselves from the budget vote or to abstain from it.

The budget will now be brought to the Knesset floor for a vote on its second and third readings. It will need to pass a final vote by Nov. 14 if snap elections are to be averted.