Bennett defends state budget in Knesset; Netanyahu: He’s not a ‘real’ PM

Opposition MKs removed from plenum for heckling premier, who says previous government was ‘addicted’ to lockdowns; opposition chief says ministers ‘don’t care what Bennett thinks’

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the Knesset plenum on October 11, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tussled with opposition members and defended his government’s state budget on Monday during a stormy Knesset plenum session called by 40 opposition members.

Several opposition lawmakers were removed from the chamber during the session for heckling and angry outbursts, and Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu alleged that Bennett was “not a real prime minister.”

A state budget hasn’t been approved since 2018 amid a protracted political crisis that resulted in four consecutive election cycles.

 

Netanyahu is widely believed to have intentionally prevented it from passing during the previous, short-lived government, utilizing a loophole in a power-sharing deal with Benny Gantz that otherwise would have resulted in the latter becoming prime minister.

The current government has until November 13 to finalize the budget and have it approved in its second and third readings, or the coalition will automatically dissolve, triggering new elections.

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