Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition will not break up, despite tension between the leaders of its parties, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Sunday.
Tensions among the coalition partners boiled over last week when Netanyahu told security cabinet ministers to stop speaking so much to the public and leaking information from meetings. The prime minister’s condemnation led to speculation in weekend newspapers that elections were on the way.
But Lapid told Channel 10 that he was working on the 2015 state budget, which he said he would present to the cabinet and Knesset after the operation. If the budget passes, the government could remain intact for another year.
“I think the government will lengthen its days,” Lapid said. “I don’t see any reason to break up the government, and none of the other parties in the coalition have an interest in that either.”
Lapid joined calls by Netanyahu not to leak security cabinet proceedings, saying “disputes are legitimate, but they must remain where they take place.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said Saturday that due in part to the disputes inside the coalition, he hoped Israel would soon be going to the polls.
“After this operation, we must have an election,” Herzog told Channel 2 News’s Meet the Press.
“This government failed in every parameter – economically and diplomatically.”
Likud MK Gila Gamliel slammed Herzog for his remarks.
She said he should behave like Shas leader Arye Deri, who for the entire operation has made a point of backing Netanyahu from the opposition.
“It is wrong of Herzog to talk about elections instead of becoming part of the government,” Gamliel said. “At the beginning of the operation, I called on Herzog to enter the coalition, but unfortunately he is playing politics.
The citizens deserve MKs who will support the government.”
Another Likud source added: “An opposition leader in Israel should be expected to behave more responsibly in such a time and support the government. It is very unfortunate that instead of putting the national interest first, Herzog prefers to call for elections during a military operation.”
Likud officials denied reports over the weekend that Netanyahu is seriously considering leaving Likud or building an alternative coalition.
They said the biggest current threat to the coalition was battles between Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett and Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman over whose party was more right-wing.