Netanyahu, Gantz Back Bill to Delay Budget Deadline, Potentially Staving Off Election

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz have both agreed to a proposal to push forward the August 25 deadline to pass Israel’s budget, in a move that could potentially stave off a fourth election in under two years.

Progress toward approving a budget has ground to a halt amid political squabbling between Netanyahu and Gantz. If a budget is not approved by August 25, the Knesset will dissolve and Israel will head to an election.

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The proposal by ministers Zvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel would push the deadline forward by 100 days, giving the government until mid December to come to an agreement.

Kahol Lavan MKs Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser are seen in the Knesset, April 29, 2020.Olivier Fitoussi

In a statement, the two ministers said Sunday they had “asked for Likud’s support to advance a bill that would delay the state budget… This step will allow Likud and Kahol Lavan the time, as the law is being passed, to arrive at an all-encompassing solution for the disagreements between them so the government can run smoothly and avoid another election."

The bill will be brought to a preliminary vote by the Knesset on Wednesday. Gantz's party and ultra-Orthodox Shas party announced they would vote in favor.

A Likud source said the party would vote in favor on Wednesday, but for now wouldn't commit to backing the bill the following three votes it must pass before becoming law.

“Netanyahu acquiesced to our request, and we welcome all progress on the path to a solution for this crisis,” said the ministers, who ran with Gantz's Kahol Lavan in Israel's latest election but split to form their Derech Eretz faction.