Gantz-Netanyahu power struggle pushes Israel to fourth election in less than two years

Correspondent in Jerusalem



The same day that the director of the Ministry of Health, Hezi Levy, alerted that Israel is on the verge of a new state of emergency due to the third wave of the coronavirus, the parliament took the first step towards new elections. Despite the nearly 3,000 deaths from the pandemic, the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and his Minister of Defense, Benny GantzOn the role of government partners, they prioritized their fight for power over the health emergency and, after just 200 days of coalition, they launched a new order that puts the country on the brink of the fourth elections in less than two years. The sticking point is the budgets, and they have until December 23 to fix themselves, otherwise Israel will return to the polls in March 2021.

The current government was formed in May after three elections in which Netanyahu and Gantz were always tied. In August it was on the verge of breaking down and three months later «Blue and white», A coalition led by Gantz, voted in favor of the opposition’s motion to dissolve the chamber. After a debate of several hours, 61 of the 120 members of the Knéset (Parliament) voted for dissolution. This is only the first step as there are still three more readings to be confirmed before the chamber is dissolved, and which will be held next week.

Pulse for power

The decision of “Azul y Blanco” to vote together with the opposition goes beyond the differences over the State accounts. Gantz outlined Netanyahu’s strategy of delaying the approval of the budget of «economic terrorismBut what is at stake is the pulse for the rotating position of prime minister that, according to the government agreement, Netanyahu should cede to Gantz in November.

“If the 2021 budget were approved, Netanyahu would lose his only loophole to avoid the rotation agreement with Gantz (…) Netanyahu wants elections because it is also his only chance to form a majority to pass an immunity law that will allow him to evade his judgment. for corruption, “reflected the journalist Anshel Pfeffer, author of the biography «Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu», In his analysis of the new government crisis in the Haaretz newspaper.

Despite the fact that the trial for three crimes of corruption is already underway and every week thousands of Israelis demonstrate on time in front of his residence in Jerusalem, Netanyahu remains popular, according to polls. The prime minister tries to win in the international arena what he loses at home, and has won the medals of the standardization agreements with Arab countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, treaties in which the incentives offered by the Donald Trump administration have been decisive.

New elections would allow Netanyahu to remain as interim prime minister and buy time after the change of tenant in the White House, since Joe Biden and his team would be forced to wait to meet the new government before implementing any changes.

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