Israel's Blue and White party plans vote to dissolve Knesset

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said there will be early elections unless the government passes a budget.

al-monitor Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a Cabinet meeting of the new government at Chagall State Hall in the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 24, 2020. Photo by ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

Dec 2, 2020

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said late Tuesday that his Blue and White party will vote to dissolve the Knesset and call for new elections, Israeli media outlets reported.

In a televised address, Gantz said Blue and White will support a Wednesday motion to dissolve the Israeli parliament. Blue and White may have enough votes to pass the motion, but the process leading up to elections could take several weeks, according to The Times of Israel

Gantz’ remarks have to do with a dispute with his coalition partner, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gantz wants the government to immediately pass the 2020-2021 budget to aid Israel’s struggling economy.

“Millions of citizens are heartbroken, businesses are closing down and more and more people are in distress and poverty, all while the State of Israel is still without a budget,” Ynet quoted Gantz as saying. 

Gantz also hinted that he would back off his support for a dissolution if Netanyahu’s Likud party immediately votes to pass the budget, Ynet said.

Israel has had three elections in a relatively short time period, with votes being held in April 2019, September 2019 and March 2020. Historically, several years pass between elections.

Netanyahu and Gantz agreed to form a government together in April. Part of the agreement stipulated that Netanyahu would turn over the prime ministership to Gantz in 2021.

Netanyahu criticized Gantz’s remarks, saying Israel needs “unity” to continue fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and economic hardship.

“This is the time for unity. This is the time to continue to bring vaccines, this is the time to continue our determined war on coronavirus,” Arutz Sheva reported Netanyahu as saying.

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