Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former coalition partner, the blue-and-white leader Benny Gantz, wanted to blame each other for the collapse of their seven-month-old government. “Blue and white withdrew from the agreements [to modify the original coalition agreement] and dragged us to unnecessary elections during the corona crisis, “said Netanyahu, who was the first Israeli to receive the Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday evening.” We don’t want an election and we voted against it … but we’re not afraid of elections – because we will win! “
Referring to the corruption allegations against Netanyahu, Gantz said: “I regret that the Prime Minister is preoccupied with his trial rather than the public interest and is ready to drag the whole country into a time of uncertainty rather than for economic stability and a to ensure rehabilitation of the economy. “
After three inconclusive elections and with the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Gantz agreed to join Netanyahu in what was dubbed the “emergency” coalition government in April – despite having fought on a platform that was barred from sitting on Prime Minister while facing corruption allegations.
Under the agreement, the prime ministerial office would have been switched between the two party leaders: Netanyahu would serve first and then give way to Gantz after 18 months. The only loophole in the complicated deal was that lawmakers did not approve a budget before Tuesday’s midnight deadline – a failure that has now occurred.
The fate of the government appeared to be sealed after the Knesset failed to pass a first reading law in the early hours of Tuesday to extend the deadline for a budget agreement.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid, who fought with Gantz in the last election but withdrew his party’s support when Gantz merged with Netanyahu, spoke to the Israeli leader in the Knesset on Monday evening: “Prime Minister, who are you?” Hoax? They don’t care about the mutation [of coronavirus]. You just take care of the rotation [of the prime ministership]. “
Opinion polls suggest that Netanyahu’s Likud party is back on track to win the most Knesset seats in the next elections. With the support of Blue-and-White Bleeding, its biggest rivals seem to come from other right-wing parties that have gained ground on Israel’s longest-serving leader.