Israeli government future…All roads lead to early elections

Dr. Ayman Ibrahim AL-Regeb

Since the first moment that witnessed formation of Israeli coalition government between Netanyahu and Benny Ganitz, many expected that this government would not complete its term, and that Israeli elections might be conducted for the fourth time.

Reading the preamble of the agreement between both parties of the Likud and the Blue and White, you feel that the first one has compromised a lot in order to form this government while the Likud has agreed on par with  with the Blue and White party in everything in away indicated that the main goal is to protect Netanyahu, who is being chased by corruption files, and that this agreement is approved by Netanyahu and his party who has far-reaching goals, the least of which is to get rid of Bani Ganitz, who has become a great competitor to Netanyahu and has even been assigned the mission of forming the government.

Actually, convincing Ganitsto ally with Netanyahu whomhe was attacking before means the end of Ganitz’s political future, and this is what really happened as the Blue and White party disintegrated and important allies to Benny Ganitzleft the party and moved to the ranks of the opposition. Meanwhile, the YeshAtidgroup led by Labido and the Telem group led by Ya’alon went in a coalition away from the Blue and White party, taking with them more than half of the Blue and White party members in the Israeli Knesset.

Benjamin Netanyahu, classified as a deceiver, got rid of his biggest competitor when he lured him into the position of the prime minister in the second half of the government cycle, that was, nearly a year and a half after the formation of the government. Benny Ganitz, for his part, was aware that Netanyahu might backtrack on this agreement and turn against him, especially since Benny Ganitz did not only lose his allies, but also lost his fans who lost trust in him after he agreed to be a partner in a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu who is accused in many corruption files, so Benny Ganetz set many conditions so that Benjamin Netanyahu could not be completely get hold on him.

Several months after the formation of the Israeli government, which was agreed upon in Last May, many crises that threaten the explosion of this coalition and foretells snap elections for the fourth time emerged amid political instability within the occupation state. These challenges include;

First: Corona crisis

Indeed, the popularity of the Israeli government and prime minister, Netanyahu, has declined due to mismanaging of the corona virus confronting measures, as the economic crisis was exacerbated by the decisions taken by the government including the comprehensive and partial closure of most aspects of life. Despite the government’s attempts to provide aid to most of those affected by these closure, every family with one child gets a financial grant of 2,000 shekels, a family with two sons gets a grant of 2,500 shekels, a family of 3 and more gets 3,000 shekels, and bachelors aged 18 and more get a grant of 750 shekels, this aid did not meet the need of workers who were greatly affected while the unemployment rate, according to the I24 Hebrew site, increased to be more than 35 percent.

The religious Jews failure to comply with the closure, especially during the holiday period, represented a new challenge to the Israeli government. The leader of the “Right Naftali Bennett” party insisted that these measures are wrong and would not undermine the spread of the Coronavirus and he made several visits to religious places and Jewish religious gatherings from the Haredim, which increased his popularity at the expense of Netanyahu. Last poll conducted by Ahronoth newspaper on November 13th pointed that the Yamina party led by Naftali Bennett is to advance by 23 seats if elections are held now compared to the current 6 seats in the Knesset, while the Likud party led by Benjamin Netanyahu declined to 30 seats, and the Blue and White party led by Benny Ganitz fell to 9 seats. The Corona mini-council, which includes members from the parties of Likud, Blue and White, Shas, and Torah Judean were at odds regarding the closure measures and restrictions on demonstrations and gatherings.

In addition, the demonstrations that have been going on for several months against Netanyahu representanother challenge to the government busy with the Corona crisis, and despite the issuance of a law from the Israeli Knesset limiting the size of demonstrators and places of rallies, the protesters did not abide by this law which led to the latest state of clash between the demonstrators and the police. Consequently, these demonstrations called for an improvement in the economic situation due to the closure measures turned into demonstrations calling for the Israeli prime minister to resign and to stand trial for corruption files. As a result of the government behavior, the Israeli Minister of Tourism, AssafZamir, resigned, and the preamble of the resignation, presented to his party leader Benny Ganitz rather than the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, included his protest against the government’s decisions towards Corona and the demonstrators and the demand of Benny Ganitz to withdraw from the government coalition, believing that continuation under the leadership of the corrupt Netanyahu is inconsistent with the principles of his party.

Second: the budget crisis

With the emergence of the results of these new polls and the conflicts between the government coalition parties on the one hand and within the parties themselves on the other hand, especially since most of these polls gave a great advantage to the Israeli right-wing parties and a significant decline for the Blue and White party and the left parties in general, any final result is unexpected.

Meanwhile, there is a fear if the situation will remain as it is today and if the political tie between right and left will return to the same level, although the opinion polls rekindled the appetite of the right-wing parties for the elections, especially since the recent polls are almost stable for the right to obtain no less than 65 seats in any upcoming elections, which never happened in the three election rounds took place before.

In spite of this partisan and societal movement, the issue of not adopting the budget will push for the government dissolving and for new elections.

Since 2018, the Israeli government has been operated without a budget, and the crisis that arose between the Likud and Blue and White parties was ended with a compromise, which stipulated granting the government a three-month delay to approve the 2020 budget until the last week of next December, which means after several days.

As for Netanyahu, he preventedthe approval of the budget for a period of two years and agreed to approve it for a period of one year, in order to refrain from transferring the premiership to BaniGanitz, and to head to the elections at the appropriate time, and from his position as interim prime minister.

According to the agreement between the Likud and Blue and White parties, the budget was supposed to be approved at the end of last August, but Netanyahu ignored the contents of the agreement, which pushed Benny Gantz to launch his threats to withdraw from the government despite the opinion polls that give a major retreat to his party because he realized that Netanyahu will not implement the agreement, and he made a clear statement on February 14th that Israel would witness the fourth elections in the middle of next March, which means that we may witness the dissolution of the government in December due to the failure to pass the budget, and Benny Ganitz and his party will certainly be the biggest losers. Even if Ganitzdoes not withdraw from the government, Netanyahu will go to dissolve it so as not to transfer the prime minister chair to him.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had launched an appeal to the government in which he expressed the repercussions of the lack of approval of the budget, and said: “For two years, Israel has been administered without a budget and this has affected several fields, the education system, for example, has not succeeded in crystallizing a clear direction to confront the challenge of distance education while many students are left behind , the digital gap is widening, and we will lose the future generation .. Businesses are collapsing, the unemployment rate is high, the fiscal deficit has widened, and the health system sits under the burden of the epidemic … Pass a budget now, and grant the Israeli economy the basic stability it needs”.

Prime Minister Benny Ganitz called on Netanyahu to prepare the 2021 budget and to present it to the government and the Knesset until December to approve it. He wrote in this regard “You have violated the agreement between us, so do not harm the citizens of the state.”

Gantz stressed that he would move towards dissolving the government and holding early elections if the general budget was not approved.

Third: Netanyahu’s corruption files crisis

Demonstrations and popular demands expand every day urging disposal of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from his post and to stand trial due to numerous corruption files, the most recent of which was the German submarine file. However, the Israeli Attorney General settled this debate about the future of the Israeli government when he affirmed that if the Israeli Prime Minister was accused of corruption crimes and convicted before he court, the he will remain as he is in his capacity, and that he is like any citizen of the state and like everyone else, we will work to prosecute him like any accused in criminal cases.

Mandelblit indicated in a speech during a ceremony for the Israeli Ministry of Justice, that Netanyahu is still maintaining his legal position that he adopted before the court and that he can continue in his position despite the indictment presented against him.

He stressed that he is working with the judiciary in the country to protect and enforce the law despite all the campaigns that target it, noting that he is being exposed, along with others from the judiciary to a campaign of insults and lies in an attempt to influence their decisions.

Despite all Netanyahu’s attempts to change the judges and the police and to pressure on the attorney general, he has not succeeded so far, while he deems the continuous demonstrations and calls for his resignation a coup against the democracy that he brought to the government, accusing his ally Blue and White party of supporting these demonstrations.

if Netanyahu feels that the stranglehold is increasing around his neck, he will call for early elections to get rid of all of this, hoping that the reality will change, especially if his trial is set to be next January. During the election, his trial in corruption files will be postponed, thus he can gainmore time along with his lawyers’ endeavors’ calling for the trial to be postponed again.

Conclusion:

Despite our review of three factors that represent crises before the current Israeli government and warn of its collapse at the earliest opportunity, the most important of them is the crisis of budget approval.

All observers expect that the budget will not be passed by the Israeli government, which means the collapse of the coalition and the dissolution of the government, after which the vote to dissolve the Knesset and to go to elections for the fourth time at the beginning of next year and may not exceed mid-March, next March.

Primarily, opinion polls play an important role in persuading the Right to vote for dissolving the Knesset and not going to form a new government led by Netanyahu, and thus the collapse of the government and going to the elections is a settled matter and that the results of the US elections will not affect the survival of this coalition to arrange working papers with the next US administration.

 

 

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