During a recent private conversation, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he does not expect his current power-sharing government to last until August 2023, when Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is expected to become prime minister as part of a rotation agreement.
“I estimate that the rotation will not happen,” Bennett said, as quoted by Bennett. “There is a considerable possibility that the government will dissolve among the [passage of the] budget and the moment of the change of power, for various reasons ”.
The television network said Bennett made the comments last month during what it described as a closed-door meeting.
Commenting on the report, Bennett’s office appeared to confirm the details, but emphasized that Bennett “will fully honor the rotation agreement, as it has been saying from the beginning.
“The partnership with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is based on mutual trust and fairness,” the reply added. “Before the approval of the budget, which guarantees the stability of the government, there are predictable reports of various quotes from various eras that were only said as estimates.
“The budget will be approved and the association will continue.”
Bennett also called Lapid an “excellent foreign minister” and praised his association, saying that Israel’s top diplomat has made “tremendous efforts” to maintain the stability of the coalition.
“Recent reports do not reflect my position and definitely not my commitment to this deal. We shook hands, ”Bennett wrote on his personal Twitter account.
Lapid said he spoke to Bennett Thursday night and dismissed what he called “transparent efforts” to divide them.
“It will not happen. Both the prime minister and I have one goal: to pass the budget and strengthen the government, ”Lapid tweeted.
The report came amid mounting tensions in the diverse ruling coalition, and a day after the same news outlet quoted a close political ally of Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, questioning whether his Yamina party will honor the rotation that would see Lapid. assume the post of prime minister in 2023.
Public infighting in the coalition, which is made up of right-wing, left-wing and centrist parties as well as an Islamist one, must pass a 2021 budget by November 14, and Bennett and other ministers have warned against swinging the boat. in the run-up to that vote.
If the long overdue budget, it would be the first state budget to be approved in more than three years, does not exceed the deadline, the coalition will automatically dissolve, prompting new elections.
The coalition will need all of its lawmakers on board to pass the budget, which the Knesset Finance Committee approved early Thursday for its final plenary readings.
In recent weeks, coalition lawmakers have expressed growing optimism about their chances of passing a budget, with no one in the narrow 61-seat government being interested in another election, despite various ideological differences. among them.