(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog expressed optimism Monday that he will succeed in toppling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government by next spring.
Herzog spoke at the last meeting of his Zionist Union faction before the Knesset begins its extended summer recess, which ends October 10. The Knesset then will begin its winter session, which will end in March.
“The government’s time is limited,” Herzog said. “The [winter] session will be its last. That is our challenge as a fighting opposition to replace the government as soon as possible.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid shared Herzog’s optimism about when the next election will take place and his disdain for the performance of Netanyahu’s current government.
“We try to provide the public with a mirror on the government,” Lapid said. “What has the government done for the public since the election? The answer is nothing – zero, zero squared. All they have tried to do is to cancel what we did in the previous Knesset and what they need to do to survive politically.”
Lapid warned that on foreign policy, it is no longer just US president Barack Obama who refuses to cooperate with Netanyahu but much of the international community. He said that as long as Netanyahu is prime minister, relations with the US cannot be fixed.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said he was glad in retrospect that he did not bring his party into Netanyahu’s coalition. He said that, while his party has been dominant on key issues, the government was, as former foreign minister David Levy once said, “on a flight to nowhere.”
Netanyahu responded that he would pass the 2015-2016 state budget, a step that would almost guarantee that his government will last until 2017.
Significant progress was made toward passing the budget Monday night when United Torah Judaism accepted a compromise on child welfare benefits proposed by the Treasury.
The prime minister also said he would pass the natural gas framework and not let it be buried by what he called the “populism” of the opposition.
The prime minister praised the acquisition by Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals of the generics unit of Dublin-based Allergan for $40.5 billion, the largest ever acquisition by an Israeli company.
“Israel is an economic superpower,” he said.