(August 23, 2020 / JNS) Israel’s weekly Cabinet meeting was called off for the second time in three weeks on Sunday. The cancelations are due to an ongoing dispute between the two major partners in the government coalition: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White faction.
At the center of the dispute is the state budget bill. Citing a need for flexibility due to the coronavirus emergency, Netanyahu has been insisting on passing a budget that covers only the remainder of 2020. Gantz counters that the Likud agreed as part of the coalition agreement to draft a bill that would also include 2021.
Israel has been without a 2020 budget until now due to a protracted political stalemate which resulted in three parliamentary elections within a 12-month period, the most recent on March 2.
After the Netanyahu-Gantz government was inaugurated on May 17, legislation was passed stipulating that the government would fall and another parliamentary election called if the budget bill was not passed by midnight on Aug. 24.
The Knesset Finance Committee was scheduled to meet on Sunday afternoon to continue discussions on passing a bill that would extend the deadline to Dec. 3. This bill has already passed in preliminary and first readings.
If the committee votes in favor of the bill in its second and third readings, it will go to the full Knesset for a final vote on Monday, just hours before the midnight deadline.
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