Labor party will back vote for new elections, ending government ‘paralysis’

Economy Minister Peretz says state budget has been taken ‘hostage’ by Netanyahu, Welfare Minister Shmuli declares ‘no point in continuing’ unity coalition

The Labor party on Tuesday said it would back a bill to disband the Knesset and call early elections, amid widespread speculation that Israelis will soon head back to the ballot box for the fourth time in under two years.

With Labor’s backing and that of another small coalition party, Derech Eretz, the fate of the bill now lies in the hands of the Blue and White party, which is reportedly planning to also support the motion.

The motion of no confidence is going up for its preliminary reading Wednesday. It would still need to be approved by a Knesset committee and then pass three more votes to formally dissolve the government.

Labor’s leader, Economy Minister Amir Peretz, held overnight discussions with fellow party member Itzik Shmuli and the two agreed that their coalition faction of three lawmakers would support the opposition-proposed bill.

“It is not possible to continue to have a government in which the most permanent thing is uncertainty,” Peretz tweeted.

Peretz charged that “the state budget has been taken hostage by the prime minister because of personal considerations,” even as the country is gripped by the pandemic, which he described as one of the most serious crises Israel has known.

“Instead of constant paralysis and mutual accusations it is better to disband the Knesset and go to elections now,” he wrote.

Similarly, Welfare Minister Shmuli tweeted that “the prime minister puts personal considerations and external motives at the forefront and pushes everything into the… abyss.”

“It was never a dream government, but we agreed to set it up to address one of the serious crises that have happened in the country,” Shmuli wrote. “There is no point in continuing like this. We will vote in favor tomorrow.”

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