Israel’s Unity Government On Verge of Collapse Due to Budget Fight; Protestors Continue to Demonstrate Against Netanyahu; Israeli COVID-19 Deaths Top 600

Tension between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Prime Minster Benny Gantz continue, with reports Gantz has accused the prime minister of never intending to honor a deal to have a budget through 2021. Gantz is demanding the government have a budget for 2020 and 2021, but Netanyahu has insisted on a one-year budget due to the coronavirus crisis. Leaks from a closed-door meeting Sunday say Gantz accused Netanyahu of deceiving him and never intending to honor the coalition agreement between their parties. If the government does not agree on a budget by August 25, the government will automatically dissolve triggering new elections. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… It was uncertain whether the weekly cabinet meeting would take place, and the coalition government appeared to be sliding closer to dissolution as on Friday both Likud and Blue and White announced there would be no cabinet meeting due to the budget fight. Under their coalition deal, both parties must approve the agenda for the meeting. Likud accused the Blue and White of refusing to approve an economic relief plan that would create 10,000 new jobs for the economy. Blue and White responded that the meeting was called off because of the Likud’s insistence on not adhering to the coalition agreement. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Additionally, two of the Likud’s senior officials have reportedly urged Netanyahu to allow new elections to occur. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… MK Gidean Sa’ar, a Likud party rival of Netanyahu, however, is said to have come out strongly against new elections, calling them a “direct blow” to the country. Nonetheless, the Blue and White and Labor parties are reportedly talking about running on a joint slate if new elections are held. Reported by The Times of Israel (Blog). Read more…

The week before on Sunday, August 2, 2020, thousands of protesters again rallied outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s house, demanding his resignation. Protesters are angry at how Netanyahu has handled the coronavirus crises, as well as by charges of alleged corruption pending against him. During his Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu complained that news media coverage was “one-sided” and supporting the movement against him. Reported by The Guardian. Read more… Netanyahu was also irked by a life-sized pop-up Last Supper exhibit that appeared in Tel Aviv overnight, showing the prime minister gorging on a giant frosted cake, champagne, and pink macaroons. The exhibit appeared in the wake of the continued protests. The Israeli prime minister compared the exhibit to a death threat. The exhibit appeared in Rabin Square, which has been the focal point of the protests. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

Finally, Israel’s coronavirus death toll has hit 600 as security cabinet ministers approved new restrictions and extended existing ones. Many of the restrictions reaffirmed existing ones set to expire under a coronavirus law passed last month. The restrictions continue to limit outdoor gatherings to 20 people and indoor gatherings to ten people. The restrictions also limit passengers to three per car, and businesses may have one-customer on premises per 7 sq. feet of floor space. Business are also prohibited from serving customers not wearing a mask and must take the temperature of those seeking to enter. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…