Israeli Finance Minister Israel Katz has reached out to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, requesting a meeting on Sunday to present a budget for 2021, ALL ISRAEL NEWS has learned.
If a budget can be passed, new elections may not be necessary.
This information comes to us as Israel Hayaom reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gantz had a secret meeting on Thursday at Ben-Gurion Airport at a ceremony marking the arrival of immigrants from Ethiopia.
“The request to close the lounge came yesterday from the Prime Minister's Office, but the meeting with Gantz was not arranged in advance,” a source said.
Gantz told his Blue and White party that he was still holding out hopes for reaching an agreement on a state budget and avoiding elections, according to a report in The Jerusalem Post.
The political intrigue comes after a dramatic week.
The Knesset took a first step toward new elections this afternoon after passing the first of four votes on a bill to dissolve the current government. It passed 61-54 on the first reading on Wednesday.
Gantz announced ahead of the vote he could no longer support the current government. “I had no illusions about Netanyahu, I knew his record as a serial breaker of promises, but I thought he would rise to the occasion given the scope [of the issue]," Gantz said before the vote.
“Netanyahu promised unity; he said there wouldn’t be tricks and games. But he doesn’t fulfill his promises and the public ultimately pays,” he said. “Netanyahu didn’t lie to me; he lied to you,” Gantz told Israelis. “He didn’t dupe me; he duped the citizens of Israel.”
Netanyahu fired back after the vote urging Gantz to put the brakes on new elections and “to put politics aside.”
“We cannot drag the country to… elections, when we need to focus on the fight against the coronavirus.”
Gantz replied saying, “Netanyahu, we're done with the manipulations. Your long campaign of deceit and lies is over. Now it's your actions that matter.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.