Netanyahu dismisses claims he wants to go to elections

Liberman: PM leads with elections due to his legal troubles

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu removing his mask (photo credit: ELI DASSA)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu removing his mask
(photo credit: ELI DASSA)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out against holding a fourth election in just over a year and a half on Monday in a speech to his Likud faction in the Knesset.
“This is the time for unity,” he said. “We need to be united in our faction and I hope in the government, too. No one wants there to be elections, and there is no reason for an election.”
Netanyahu spoke amid a fight with Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz about whether to pass one two-year budget, as Gantz wants, or two consecutive annual budgets, as Netanyahu prefers. Netanyahu warned that Gantz’s plan could harm the economy.
“Passing a two-year budget now would require significant budget cuts,” he said. “This is the opposite of what we need to do. It would harm the economy. This is not the time for cuts. It is the time to pass a budget immediately so money can flow to the public, and we can bring certainty and stability to the economy.”
Finance Minister Israel Katz also warned against a two-year budget, telling KAN Radio it would take months to prepare a budget that would include 2021.
“The country needs a budget,” he said. “The prime minister has to decide with Gantz when to bring the budget to a vote.”
“No one wants elections" a Likud MK said outside the faction meeting, adding that some Likud MKs were concerned Netanyahu would initiate another one.
One of the reasons Gantz wants a two-year budget is that he does not trust Netanyahu’s promises to not seek an election, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Alon Schuster (Blue and White) said Monday.
“All talk of elections now is shameful to the citizens of Israel” and “completely misunderstanding the economic situation,” Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (Derech Eretz) said Monday. He warned that going to a fourth election would only lead to a fifth.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, a member of the opposition, on Monday told his faction meeting Netanyahu was leading Israel to an unnecessary election due to his legal troubles.
“Over the past week, we have seen a shameful show of Bibisteria in which everyone is guilty, including protesters, the press, [MK] Yifat Shasha-Biton and [Finance Ministry Budget Department head] Shaul Meridor,” he said. “Netanyahu is leading Israel to a fourth election for his own personal reasons, and just using the budget is an excuse. The public will hold him accountable for it.”