Budget must pass despite Knesset fighting – editorial

The past week has not been easy for the government headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. What began just a few months ago as the “coalition of change” after more than a decade of Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule, has become more of the “fighting coalition” based on the way its members talk to each other.

There were recorded conversations of Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked leaked to the media in which he warned that Defense Minister Benny “Gantz will break the [government], “He called Lapid” superficial “and said that” every week Lapid causes an international incident that Bennett has to fix. “

Then there was the fight between Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli and Gantz over the Defense Minister’s decisions to designate six Palestinian NGOs as supporters of a terrorist organization and to authorize more housing in West Bank settlements.

“Those who make statements on diplomatic matters with international consequences in an irresponsible manner without coordination or preparation and authorize the construction of 3,000 houses in Judea and Samara, let’s say, Rabin is not,” Labor tweeted.

Blue and White responded by accusing Michaeli of asking to evade military service and said “he should not lecture us on responsibility for diplomatic and security matters.”

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Gideon Saar, Transport Minister Merav Michaeli, during a commemorative ceremony marking 26 years since the murder of Rabin. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI / FLASH90)

And Bennett himself encountered problems within his Yamina Party when two of its members, Shirley Pinto and Abir Kara, clashed over economic reforms. Kara left the party’s internal WhatsApp group and called her colleagues “an idiot party.” He later rejoined the group, but the move prompted Bennett to call an emergency meeting with Yamina’s deputies on Wednesday night.

All of these infighting occurs as the coalition approaches the deadline to pass a state budget. The legislation must be passed in mid-November, otherwise the government falls and Israel heads to another election. In the background is, of course, Netanyahu and his Likud Party, who are actively trying to disrupt the government’s work and eliminate defectors to prevent the budget from being passed.

While the chances of that succeeding are slim, all members of the coalition know that over the next few days, until the budget is voted on, they have significant influence over Bennett and Lapid.

These coalition members would do well to remember why they are in government, why they were elected to the Knesset, and what brought this coalition together. There is no doubt that Meretz would rather be in a government that is not led by a prime minister who used to be the executive director of the Yesha settlement council. There is also no doubt that Shaked would prefer to sit in a government that does not include members of the Islamist Ra’am Party or members of the Labor Party who believe that Israel is illegally occupying the Palestinian people in the West Bank.

But they joined in June because Israel really needed a change. He needed to end the incessant cycle of elections that had created government paralysis and prevented the approval of a state budget that the country so desperately needs.

For too long this country was stagnant and ruled as the personal fiefdom of a single person who felt that his own destiny was more important than the interests of the nation. If he couldn’t serve as prime minister, no one should be able to, he thought, and sadly, the nation suffered. Budgets were not approved, election after election took over our lives and infrastructure projects, the IDF renovation, the budget for schools, new buses, railways and hospitals were pushed aside.

Hopefully that will come to an end in the next two weeks when a budget approval is scheduled. It will not be easy, and as the vote approaches, tension within the ranks of the coalition will intensify. To overcome this hurdle, coalition members must remember why they are in office.

While the desire to eliminate Netanyahu could have brought them together, they now have a real opportunity to influence the trajectory of this nation and improve the quality of life for its people. Keep your eyes on the ball. Approve the budget.


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