With Budget Approval Approaching Bennett Urges Coalition Restraint and Unity

On Wednesday, Naftali Bennett, the Prime Minister of Israel, urged his fragile coalition to keep it together as the state budget approval is on the line. The Knesset session for approving it continued, as lawmakers went over the financial plan and the fate of the government depends on it. The Knesset has 120 seats and the coalition has about 61 votes at best, but Bennett said that he was certain the budget would be approved. This is the first time that a state budget has been presented by a government for the parliament’s final approval since 2018. 

It is because of a prolonged political deadlock that a plan could not be brought to the Knesset, as a number of governments had fallen before they could do so. This government would also be brought down if the budget is not approved by November 14th and fresh elections would have to be conducted. If they were to happen, it would be the fifth time that elections would be held in Israel in three years. The aim of the coalition is to get the budget approved by Friday, November 5th. At the start of the cabinet meeting, Bennett told the other ministers that passing the budget would ensure the country’s stability and would lead to a prospering and growing economy.

Bennett has repeatedly made calls for unity for the last few weeks, at least until the budget is approved. He urged all the lawmakers and ministers that this was the time for restraint when it comes to tweets and statements. He said that people should avoid saying something that doesn’t need to be said. He added that there wasn’t any need to rock the boat during such a sensitive time just for gaining a point. The efforts of passing the budget have become very complicated because the government led by Bennett has a rather diverse composition.

It is made up of left-wing, right-wing, centrist parties and even boasts an Islamist faction and even a single lawmaker’s opposition can bring down the coalition. Bennett referred to the opposition’s efforts of torpedoing the budget by saying that while they were trying to bring stability, others just want to put the country into chaos. The opposition is trying to persuade the coalition lawmakers to vote against the budget. Bennett said that even though exhausting days and nights were ahead of them in the Knesset session, they would approve the budget.

Faction heads talked to their lawmakers on Tuesday, particularly those who are wavering in order to ensure the government has the right number of votes for passing the budget. Meanwhile, opposition parties are in search of deserters and have focused on the right-wing New Hope and Yamina parties. Yomtob Kalfon, Yamina MK, revealed that he was one of the people who had been singled out, but said that he was not persuaded and would still vote for the approval of the budget. He said that opposition lawmakers were approaching him for ideal reasons and it wasn’t really a secret. 

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