Israel spared a fifth sudden election as lawmakers passed the budget

Jerusalem — The Israeli parliament passed the national budget early Thursday for the first time in three years, avoiding the November deadline that would have defeated the new government and triggered the next election.

An overnight vote on the budget bill in the Israeli parliament, Knesset, was a major hurdle for the new government, led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

If the budget is not passed by November 14, the government that took office in June went bankrupt, the fifth election was held in just three years, and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was given the opportunity to return to power. rice field.

Bennett celebrated on Twitter, saying, “After years of turmoil, we formed a government, overcame Delta variants, and now thanked God and passed Israeli budget.”

Knesset began voting on a series of budget proposals, including hundreds of amendments, late Wednesday. The rally began with Benjamin and Netanyahu giving a speech attacking each other.

Netanyahu’s allies repeatedly heckled Bennett. The uncontrollable scene continued. At one point, Netanyahu’s Likud party lawmakers called the chairman “a rag on the floor” and were escorted, and a super-Orthodox lawmaker was dismissed after meowing like a cat.

When the opposition tried to pull the vote early in the morning, coalition whip Idit Silman distributed candies to lawmakers to stay alert.

Early Thursday morning, Knesset cast 61-59 votes in favor of the 2021 budget. It was approved by Congress for the first time since 2018. Parliament then approved a series of new legislation, including congestion taxes in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, and relaxed import restrictions. , And approved a higher retirement age for women. It also supported the reform of Kosher certification, which infuriated ultra-Orthodox lawmakers.

The 2022 budget vote was scheduled for late Thursday.

On the other side of the aisle, Israel Katz, a former finance minister of Israel under Netanyahu, blew up “a terrible budget for cuts and taxes” in an Army radio interview.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak at a conference held in Knesset, Jerusalem, on March 4, 2020. (MenahemKahana / AFP via Getty Images)

The ruling coalition, led by Bennett, includes eight parties from the entire political spectrum and has a very thin margin of 61 seats in a rally of 120 members.

Allied lawmaker Eitan Ginsburg told Army Radio that passing the 2021 budget “avoided the fifth election and stabilized the political system and economy.”

Israel has entered a protracted political crisis after the April 2019 election, when the right-wing party, which had been allied with Netanyahu, refused to sit in government with him. Over the next two years, three consecutive deadlocked elections were held. The short-lived National Unity Government of Myanmar, formed to fight the coronavirus pandemic, collapsed last year after failing to pass the budget, triggering a fourth election.

After the March elections last March, a number of parties, led by some parties that turned from Netanyahu’s former allies to rivals, successfully formed a ruling coalition, ending the 12-year administration record.

The alliance includes transnationalists, centrists, left-wing parties, and even small Islamist parties that made history by joining the Israeli government as the first Arab party. However, the coalition has only 61 seats and wants to agree a little beyond its opposition to Netanyahu and avoid the next election round.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu has been tried three times on charges of fraud, back office, and bribery while serving as prime minister. Israeli law did not require him to resign during the indictment, and he refused to resign. He used his platform as prime minister to level out bitter attacks on political opponents, the media and law enforcement agencies.

After the new government swore, Netanyahu vowed in June to “defeat this dangerous government and return to lead the country.” Now that the budget is over, the job is more difficult. For now, he continues to dominate the leaders of his party and the opposition.

Katz, a prominent member of the Netanyahu Party, said Thursday, “I am confident that when Netanyahu resigns himself, I will be elected leader of the Likud party,” but he resigned Bennett instead of Netanyahu. He said he was focusing on doing.

Iran Ben Zion

Associated Press