Blue and White aims to scare Likud with vote on election

©The Jerusalem Post

NETANYAHU AND Gantz – can they put their animosity aside and serve the public? (photo credit: CORINNA KERN AMIR COHEN REUTERS)

The Blue and White faction is likely to vote in favor of Yesh Atid-Telem’s proposal to disperse the Knesset and initiate elections at the Knesset on Wednesday, sources in the party told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night.
But the sources stressed that the vote is only on a preliminary reading of the bill, so passing it would be “just declarative” and intended to send a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Blue and White is serious. The goal of the vote would be to persuade Likud to begin negotiating a compromise on the 2021 state budget.
After passing the preliminary reading, the bill would go to the Knesset House Committee, which is chaired by Blue and White faction chairman Eitan Ginzburg, where it could either be fast-tracked or buried. 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.
A final decision on whether to vote for the bill sponsored by opposition leader Yair Lapid is unlikely to be made by Blue and White leader Benny Gantz before Wednesday, escalating political tensions between Likud and Blue and White ahead of the vote.
“Instead of passing a state budget and helping hundreds of thousands of unemployed people, senior citizens, business owners and independent workers, the prime minister is acting irresponsibly and putting his own personal good above that of everyone else,” Ginzburg said. “If the Likud does not get its act together and continues putting petty political considerations above all, we won’t hesitate to use all the political and parliamentary weapons we have available.”
The Likud dared Blue and White to vote in favor of the bill and lose even more support among the public.
“Whoever thinks wasteful and unnecessary elections are the right thing for Israel to do right now should vote in favor,” Regional Cooperation Minister Ophir Akunis (Likud) said sarcastically. “The Likud will be voting against dispersing the Knesset. The ball is in the court of Blue and White, or whatever is left of it.”
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The Yamina Party of Naftali Bennett will be voting in favor of the bill. In a sign that Netanyahu sees Bennett as his primary rival in the next election, the prime minister recorded a video on Friday for attendees of a nationwide Shabbat program of the religious Zionist youth movement Bnei Akiva.
A poll broadcast on Channel 12 over the weekend found that Bennett could pose the most serious political threat to Netanyahu. Asked who is most fit to serve as prime minister, Netanyahu defeated Bennett by the smallest margin among Bennett, Lapid and Gantz.
Put head to head, thirty-six percent said Netanyahu, 23% Bennett, 34% none of the above and seven percent said they did not know.
Asked about Netanyahu and Lapid, 44% said the incumbent prime minister, 22% the opposition leader, 29% none of the above and five percent did not know.
If the candidates would be Netanyahu and Gantz, 42% said Netanyahu, 11% Gantz, 41% none of the above and six percent did not know.
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