19:44 GMT30 September 2020
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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to pass a bill to delay the budget by 100 days. Following its passing, the PM can remain in office until the end of the year. If the bill had failed to pass, however, the Knesset would have been forced to dissolve at midnight and a new general election would be called.

    The Israeli government successfully passed a bill through the Knesset on Monday which delays the deadline for the state budget, breaking a hurdle which would otherwise force an election, and giving the government an extra 120 days to avoid dissolution, The Times of Israel reported on Monday.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz both agreed on Monday evening that their respective parties would vote to support the bill.

    Second and third readings of the compromise legislation, submitted by Derech Eretz MK Zvi Hauser, pushed state budget deadlines to 23 December. 

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves after a vote to dissolve the Israeli parliament, also known as the Knesset, in Jerusalem December 8, 2014
    © REUTERS / Baz Ratner
    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves after a vote to dissolve the Israeli parliament, also known as the Knesset, in Jerusalem December 8, 2014

    This follows a day of both the Likud and the Blue and White parties accusing each other of using the bill to their own advantage. Both coalition partners dispute the ability to appoint senior law-enforcement as well as a shifting balance of power in the ongoing unstable partnership of rivals.

    Netanyahu was accused of looking to appoint top legal officials who would treat him leniently in the ongoing criminal graft trial against him.

    According to Channel 12 news, the Blue and White said they would accept a clause giving Netanyahu the ability to form a panel on senior appointments as long as Likud backed long-delayed regulations making official the stated equal balance of power in the cabinet, as the initial coalition agreement supported.

    “No personal attacks and no blood libels will bend me”, Gantz said at a press conference ahead of the vote.
    “For 100 days, I let my political partners in the government know I sought partnership”, he said.

    Gantz said he let them know “that my hands were outstretched for cooperation and that my heart was devoted to one issue alone: ensuring the security, health, and livelihood of Israelis".

    "For 100 days, I was silent in the face of personal attacks, of a deluge of attempts to humiliate and exclude. I was silent in the face of profanities and ridicule by senior Likud officials".
    “Those 100 days of silence, acceptance, and restraint are over", Gantz remarked.

    ​The defence minister warned that if the country goes again to elections "blood would spill in the streets" and that he will not "allow anyone to bring Israel to its knees".

    Likud issued a statement accusing the Blue and White of "running away from Hauser’s compromise, which they agreed to, and are dragging the country to elections, with false claims and by creating difficulties at the last minute".

    Netanyahu’s party claimed that their coalition partners were "refusing to create a panel on political appointments with an equal number of lawmakers from both parties", adding that Blue and White are trying to “define the budget as a two-year budget” as opposed to a one-year plan, which the Prime Minister was looking to establish.

    The coalition agreement states that Netanyahu must give the control of the government to Gantz in November 2021, or earlier, if the government collapses, with the exception of a failure to pass a budget, causing it to dissolve.

    Blue and White accuse Netanyahu of intentionally avoiding adherence to the rotation arrangement by causing a budget crisis to prevent Gantz's ascension to the premiership.

    If the bill had not passed, the country would have been forced to to hold new elections - the fourth election in less than 2 years. Netanyahu and Gantz continue to remain in an electoral deadlock, with neither party being able to secure a majority.

    Budget, elections, Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz
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