Israel on cusp of fourth Nationwide elections in two Decades

JERUSALEM — Israel appeared led into its fourth election in a couple of years on Tuesday following a last-minute attempt to help keep the government afloat and push the automatic dissolution of parliament failed.

Negotiations intended to result in a budget compromise between the government’s two chief parties broke down early Tuesday and at a late-night Knesset session, both members of the Likud and Blue and also White parties voted against a proposal to postpone Tuesday’s budget for the following 2 weeks.

If the government doesn’t pass a budget by midnight Tuesday, Israeli law stipulates that the Knesset dissolve and activates snap elections in 90 days. Most paths to bypass that deadline are shut.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White celebration have been at loggerheads over the federal budget dilemma since forming a unity government in May.

Netanyahu and Gantz had suggested pushing Tuesday’s deadline by 2 weeks in a bid to achieve a compromise on the 2020 budget. But members of the parties voted against the movement in a late-night, 11th-hour break in party positions.

“We don’t want elections and we voted against this day, but we aren’t scared of elections — since we’ll win!”

After parliament dissolves, Israelis will visit the polls in March for a fourth time because ancient 2019, now in the middle of this coronavirus pandemic, a significant economic downturn, and while Netanyahu is on trial for a series of corruption charges.

Netanyahu also faces a challenger from within his camp, Gideon Saar, who jumped in the Likud party earlier this month, and it has known for its long-ruling prime minister’s ouster. Many members of Netanyahu’s party who took down Tuesday’s proposal are anticipated to join ranks with Saar.