A red-with-rage Benjamin Netanyahu this week turned on his Blue and White coalition partners, blaming them for Israel’s destructive budget delays.
The embattled Israeli premier – facing both relentless protests against his rule as well as a pending corruption trial – hurled accusations of irresponsibility against his fellow ministers this week, while calling Israeli journalists “propagandists”.
Israel has now had no budget for two years and only an eleventh-hour compromise between the supposed allies – pushing the deadline back to December – would avert the automatic dissolution of Israel’s parliament in two weeks’ time.
Analysts unanimously agree with Amir Yaron, governor of the Bank of Israel, that this would be disastrous for the country’s economy and credit rating, and that it would further enrage Israelis, who have already had three elections in 18 months.
Netanyahu is now publicly at odds with Blue and White leader and former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, Israel’s current defence minister. Under the terms of their coalition pact, Gantz is due to replace Netanyahu as PM next year.
This week Gantz referred yet again to Netanyahu’s “divisiveness”, while critics of Netanyahu pointed out that – under the terms of the two men’s agreement – a delay in passing a budget serves to keep Netanyahu in power.
Vast and vocal protests calling for Netanyahu to resign have gripped the country in recent weeks. He has accused protesters of “trampling on democracy” and the media of “delivering propaganda for the anarchist left-wing demonstrations”.
On Sunday, a Jerusalem court issued a restraining order against Netanyahu’s off-the-handle son, Yair, after he tweeted protest leaders’ private addresses.
It comes amid veiled threats of violence from figures such as far-right extremist Yona Avrushmi, who served 27 years in prison for hurling a hand grenade into a peace march against the war in Lebanon, which killed a teacher and injured nine others.
In an interview with Channel 12, Avrushmi called the protesters “germs”, adding: “There are young guys who can go there, they know what to do.”