Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took steps over the weekend to make Finance Minister Yair Lapid the scapegoat for the early elections he intends to initiate next month.
Netanyahu blasted Lapid’s 2015 state budget proposal and his flagship zero-percent VAT plan, saying the budget would harm the IDF and Israel’s security, while the VAT plan would “waste billions, won’t lower cost of housing and will help only contractors close to Lapid advisers.”
Lapid lashed back at Netanyahu, telling an audience at a cultural event in Tel Aviv that the prime minister and his associates had not spoken to him in the past month even as serious decisions needed to be made.
“Everything is stuck and the prime minister is standing on the side,” Lapid said. “The housing reforms are stuck, the budget is stuck, our international relations are deteriorating. Instead of passing the budget and dealing with all these problems, they are dealing with the most petty politics.”
Lapid reiterated that he was not afraid of elections but that the people do not want or need them. His associates said Netanyahu would not succeed in making Lapid the fall guy for an unnecessary election.