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Israelis demonstrate against corruption near the home of the Minister of Public Security in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 28, 2020. (AP Photo / Sebastian Scheiner)
JERSUALÉN (AP) – The Israeli finance minister announced Thursday that he will vote on a short-term budget next week, setting the stage for a confrontation between the two main coalition partners that could lead to the dissolution of the government. a few months after its formation.
Israel Katz, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, said that given the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, it would be unwise to insist on a multi-year budget as set out in the coalition agreement. But Defense Minister Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party calls for the power-sharing agreement to be honored, citing the opinion of two economists that a budget valid for just the remainder of the year will cause further uncertainty.
Behind the financial debate lie political calculations. A short-term budget would give Netanyahu an outlet to call elections and avoid handing over the government reins to Gantz as his fragile political pact states. The two are at odds on various issues and are under a cloud of suspicion that the government could collapse at any moment.
The government was established in May after three costly, divisive, and ultimately uncertain results, in order to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and alleviate divisions in society.
But since its inception it has been characterized by fierce internal clashes over most crucial issues, leading to speculation about a new election. Netanyahu is being tried for corruption. He is also accused of mismanagement of the economic and public health crises, and the largest protests of the last 10 years demand his resignation.
Lately, protests have turned violent, with attacks by right-wing activists on peaceful protesters. Gantz has expressed solidarity with the protesters, while Netanyahu denounces them as anarchists and extremists.