Blue and White mulling dispersing Knesset next Monday

But Gantz says budget dispute can still be resolved.

MK Yair Lapid speaks during a Knesset plenary session at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on August 24, 2020. (photo credit: OREN BEN HAKOON/POOL)
MK Yair Lapid speaks during a Knesset plenary session at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on August 24, 2020.
(photo credit: OREN BEN HAKOON/POOL)
Blue and White is considering bringing its own bill next Monday to disperse the Knesset and initiate elections, in order to preempt a Knesset dispersal bill sponsored by Yesh Atid-Telem that opposition leader Yair Lapid intends to bring to a vote next Wednesday, sources in the party told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
The sources said all options are on the table for Blue and White, and it is important to party leader Benny Gantz to lead and not be dragged by Lapid. The options also include passing controversial legislation the Likud opposes that could prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming the next government, promote equality and enable gay men to adopt children.
Likud officials said Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin could block such legislation so it has no chance of passing into law. The Knesset will be dispersed automatically on December 23 if a state budget is not passed by then, and Netanyahu would remain prime minister in a caretaker government.
Following a day of mutual recriminations between Netanyahu and Gantz in the Knesset on Monday, the latter reached out to the former in interviews broadcast Tuesday night on channels 12 and 13.
“Israel doesn’t need to go to elections,” Gantz said. “Israel needs a functioning government.”
The alternate prime minister said that the budget dispute between Likud and Blue and White can still be resolved.
But he added that if the Knesset ends up being dispersed because Netanyahu is unwilling to compromise, his Blue and White Party would not join a Netanyahu-led government after the election.
The Likud responded to Gantz by saying that it was inappropriate that the defense minister gave political interviews on a day that two IDF soldiers were killed in a plane crash.
Two contradictory polls were broadcast on Tuesday night on KAN TV and Channel 13. The KAN poll found that Netanyahu’s Likud had a solid lead over Naftali Bennett’s Yamina Party of 31 to 21 seats. The poll gave Yesh Atid-Telem 17 seats, the Joint List 11, Blue and White, Shas and Yisrael Beytenu nine each, United Torah Judaism seven and Meretz six.
But the survey on Channel 13, which was taken by pollster Camil Fuchs, found that the lead was only four mandates: 27 to 23. The poll gave Yesh Atid-Telem 20 seats, the Joint List 12, Blue and White 10, Yisrael Beytenu eight, Shas and UTJ seven and Meretz six.
In that scenario, a government could be formed without Netanyahu, using the 61 seats of Yamina, Yesh Atid-Telem, Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu.
Meanwhile, the Knesset voted late Monday night to pass into law a bill that would prevent members’ salaries from being increased significantly on January 1.
The salaries of MKs are based on the average salary in Israel, which has risen significantly due to the large number of low wage earners who were fired due to the coronavirus. The MKs were due for a monthly raise of NIS 6,500.
The bill, sponsored by Yesh Atid MKs Yair Lapid and Mickey Levy, passed into law by a vote of 39 to zero.
Lapid lamented that MKs still determine their own salaries. He has tried to shift that responsibility to a public committee.
“There is a lot more to do, but this is a terrific start,” Lapid said.
Yesh Atid competed over credit for the bill with Blue and White, whose faction chairman Eitan Ginzburg formally initiated it in the Knesset House Committee he heads.
Likud MK Shlomo Karhi tried to amend the bill to prevent a pay raise next year as well, but to no avail.