Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will do everything possible to pass the 2013
state budget and avoid initiating an early election that he believes would be
bad for Israel and for the Likud, officials close to Netanyahu said
The officials reacted to reports that senior Likud politicians
were urging him to initiate an immediate election in order to avoid making
The politicians warned that making the cuts before
the election could harm the party and help Labor.
Wednesday that “what Israel needs now is a responsible budget.” He warned that
delays in making difficult economic decisions led to serious problems for other
A Likud official loyal to Netanyahu said he knew for a fact
that the prime minister had not made a decision on whether to initiate an early
He said it was likely that two central factors involved in that
decision would be whether the budget could be passed and how the Iranian issue
“The option of early elections is obviously there,” the
official said. “If he goes to elections now, he can’t say on the campaign trail
that there won’t be cutbacks if he doesn’t want to be perceived as a liar. He is
talking to the heads of the parties in the coalition about the budget and the
gaps are not wide.”
Sources in Yisrael Beytenu and Shas said that the
parties wanted the next election to be held on time in October 2013 but that
they would not rubberstamp cutbacks they find unacceptable.
officials denied a report claiming that Shas had been given an ultimatum on the
“We need to be concerned about what would happen if the budget
passed in the government and then our coalition partners prevented it from
passing in the Knesset,” Vice Premier Silvan Shalom told Israel Radio. “The
worst scenario is that the Likud will be blamed for the cutbacks and the budget
does not even get passed.”
The budget is expected to come to a vote in
the cabinet in mid-October, and it must be presented to the Knesset by the end
of the month.
A Likud MK revealed that Netanyahu said in closed
conversations that he regretted forming a short-lived national- unity government
with Kadima and not initiating an election that would have been held last
Netanyahu met with Kadima leader MK Shaul Mofaz on Thursday and
updated him on diplomatic, security and socioeconomic issues. The meeting took
place 10 days after Mofaz sent a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein
complaining that Netanyahu was not fulfilling his legal obligation to update the
opposition leader monthly.
The prime minister Mofaz not to leak sensitive
information about Iran from the meeting. He complained that Mofaz had previously
revealed information on Iran that he learned when he was a minister.
the letter, Mofaz demanded an immediate meeting to discuss Netanyahu’s
preparations for a potential unilateral strike on Iran. He sent a confidential
document on Iran to Weinstein with the letter that was not released to the
Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich called upon Netanyahu to
set a date for the election before passing the budget. Speaking at a conference
in Holon, she said the prime minister should pick a day that a consensus of
parties can agree on.