The Knesset dispersal bill will inevitably be an anti-climax - analysis

Netanyahu and Gantz and their parties’ ministers will remain together in the government. The tension between the two leaders will continue.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz at the weekly cabinet meeting, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem on June 28, 2020. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz at the weekly cabinet meeting, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem on June 28, 2020.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu built up expectations for a dramatic address on Monday and ended up saying what was already known, Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz did the same on Tuesday night.
Netanyahu merely announced that his Likud would vote on Wednesday against dispersing the Knesset. Gantz merely announced that his Blue and White would vote for it.
After months of expectations for the Knesset dispersal bill, it will finally pass in the plenum on Wednesday. And when it happens, it will change... absolutely nothing.
Netanyahu and Gantz and their parties’ ministers will remain together in the government. The tension between the two leaders will continue, as will the questions of whether early elections can still be prevented. It will be just another anti-climax.
That’s because Wednesday’s vote is only on a preliminary reading of the bill. Gantz enabling the bill’s advancement is just intended to send a message to Netanyahu that Blue and White is serious. The goal of the vote is to persuade the prime minister to begin negotiating a compromise on the 2021 state budget.
After it passes the preliminary reading, the bill will go to the Knesset House Committee, which is chaired by Blue and White faction chairman Eitan Ginzburg, who is loyal to Gantz. Ginzburg can either fast-track the bill to pass it by Monday or bury it.
The real deadline for negotiations between Likud and Blue and White is December 23, when the Knesset would be dispersed automatically if the 2020 state budget is not passed into law – to cover the final eight days of the year. In that case, elections would automatically be set for 90 days later, on Tuesday, March 23.
Netanyahu could also choose to cooperate with dispersing the Knesset before then, but insist that the bill set Election Day for June – after coronavirus vaccines are readily available in Israel.
That would of course be awkward: like a couple remaining in the same home when they already have a date for their divorce. But it could also compel Likud and Blue and White to pass the state budgets for both 2020 and 2021 and make key appointments, while they are still living together.
With all the bad blood between them, there is still an outside chance that Netanyahu and Gantz could compromise and push off elections again, even for a few months, knowing that they have a mutual interest in staying in power longer.
But in the near future, the long-awaited drama will happen and elections will be initiated – for the fourth time in less than two years. Israelis will then go back to the polls, hoping for stability and no more drama. After all the anti-climaxes, the climax of a new government will then arrive.


Tags Knesset