Blue and White: Netanyahu is ‘pouring money,’ wants March elections

An unnamed Blue and White official said Netanyahu’s entire plan is intended to buy favor with ultra-Orthodox parties ahead of planned March 2021 elections.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 30, 2020.  (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on June 30, 2020.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his NIS 80 b. relief plan and is pushing for a six-month state budget because he is “pouring money” ahead of planned elections, an unnamed Blue and White official told Channel 13 on Friday. 
The prime minister plans to offer the ultra-Orthodox sector extensive funding in the yet to be seen six-month budget to ensure they will back him when he leads the nation into elections in March, the official said. Netanyahu called the report “ridiculous,” adding that a round of elections at this time would be a disaster.  
Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz held a three-hour meeting with representatives of industries badly hit by coronavirus to discuss its impact on the nation’s economy, as one million Israelis are face unemployment.
The meeting ended with mixed results with some participants, such as Head of the Association of Hotels and Event Gardens Noam Levy saying they will sit out the planned Saturday evening mass protest in Tel Aviv and others saying they will march as planned.
Linda Avitan, who owns a company that offers lighting services for stage productions, said she will protest as planned as what she and her co-protesters need is “money in the bank” now after the June aid package got stuck in bureaucracy with only one third of the funds, NIS 4 b. being delivered.  
Netanyahu plans to hold ongoing weekly Friday meetings with the delegation to ensure he is kept aware of their needs. As part of the meetings, Netanyahu looking to work with the delegation to fine tune Health Ministry-issued regulations.
In his Thursday presentation of the plan to the public, Katz said that “the coronavirus will be here for the upcoming year” and claimed that “all the answers” can be found in the July plan. Katz is also holding meetings with leaders of the banking sector to postpone loans and mortgages payments until the pandemic is over.     
Actors are angry that they are not allowed to perform on stage to an audience, while houses of worship are allowed to be open and restaurant owners are asking why they can only serve 20 people indoors regardless of how large they are, the temperatures of the patrons or what health measures they take. 
TV Chef Haim Cohen, famous for the Israeli adaptation for Come Dine with Me in which he participates, repeated an idea that had been circulating among media reports claiming the Finance Ministry didn’t object to the Health Ministry's food industry restrictions because it attempted to avoid offering them support.
“You guys will work, won’t make any money, and decide to close on your own,” he said, presenting what the alleged argument was.
He warned that unless restaurants are offered help, Israeli food culture as we know it, which produced global level chefs such as Yotam Ottolenghi, will be gone.  
Hudson Brasserie chef Matan Abrahms said “I am responsible for entire families and nobody cares."
He pointed to workers he employs despite the restrictions and said “he has two daughters” and “he had been working here for a decade.” He said that it’s a good thing they work in a restaurant as otherwise they would go hungry for bread.