Elections avoided day before deadline, Netanyahu accepts compromises

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press statement at the PM's office in Jerusalem, on August 13, 2020.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that he would not seek a November election that would be initiated automatically on Monday night if the budget deadline extension bill is not passed into law in the Knesset plenum.
Netanyahu announced that he would accept a compromise proposed by MK Zvi Hauser to postpone the budget deadline from Monday to December 3 and freeze political appointments. According to the compromise, Blue and White would honor the coalition agreement and form an appointments committee that includes Likud representatives.

"This is the time for unity, not the time for elections," Netanyahu said. "Let's unite and work together. If we act in harmony, the government will last its term "
But Netanyahu did not inform Blue and White about the press conference, which the party's leaders found out about from the media and admitted they felt "humiliated." Ahead of the press conference, Blue and White issued fierce criticism of Netanyahu.
"We call upon the prime minister to get in line and come back to seeing the good of the country rather than his own personal good," Blue and White said. "While nine million citizens expect unity and address of security needs and the coronavirus crisis, Likud is preoccupied with political manipulations. They are spitting in the face of the Israeli public out of personal considerations."
Netanyahu urged Blue and White to stop attacking him. He said it was a "myth" that he wanted to appoint a police inspector-general or state prosecutor.
The prime minister did inform the heads of United Torah Judaism and Shas ahead of the press conference that he was not going to initiate an election.
The leader of the opposition, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, mocked Netanyahu's press conference and the bill that would extend the budget deadline.
“Another 100 days without a budget?" he asked on Twitter. "Their compromise is to continue Netanyahu’s utter failure? Schools that won’t open properly, self-employed who won’t get the help they need, ongoing wildly high unemployment? You’re detached, enough!”
The Knesset Finance Committee met twice on Sunday to approve the budget deadline extension the bill. After there was no vote in the first meeting in the afternoon,  vote was expected late Sunday night ahead of Monday's voting in the plenum. Finance Minister Israel Katz attended the second meeting.
"We have an obligation to prevent elections and chaos in the country," Pindrus told members of the committee.
Pindrus adjourned the meeting until 9pm and then said only half joking that when it reconvenes, "if Likud and Blue and White have not reached an agreement, we could announce to the people of Israel that we are going to elections."
KAN reported on Sunday that if there is an election, Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai will run at the helm of a new party that MK Yair Golan is working on forming that would run together with Meretz in the next election. The report said Golan was also trying to woo former foreign minister Tzipi Livni.
A source close to Huldai would not confirm the report. Golan's spokesman said there must be only one Zionist party between Blue and White and the Joint List.
"We are talking with everyone," he said. 


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