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Israel's weekly cabinet meeting cancelled following row among coalition partners

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) greets Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, at a memorial ceremony for late Israeli president Shimon Peres, at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on 19 September 2019. [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images[
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) greets Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, at a memorial ceremony for late Israeli president Shimon Peres, at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on 19 September 2019. [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images[

The weekly meeting of the Israeli cabinet due to be held yesterday was cancelled over a row among government coalition partners, local media reported.

Ynet News said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party claims that coalition partners Blue and White refused to put the new coronavirus rescue package on the agenda, while the latter said the move is a mere political manoeuvre for Netanyahu to find a way to call for snap elections.

Regarding the rescue package, the Blue and White said in a statement: "This is a multi-billion, long-term aid plan that has not presented in full and has not been finalised."

The statement added: "The attempt to table it overnight is nothing more than an irresponsible political spin. We expect the Likud to abide by the coalition agreement and approve the government's bylaws."

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It added: "Israeli citizens expect stability and credibility from the government, and Blue and White will not agree to undermine this … Blue and White informed the Likud that any vote related to coronavirus bills will not be delayed and will go through via a telephone vote."

This row adds to tensions between Netanyahu and his Defence Minister Benny Gantz over the passing of the state budget, which threatens to trigger Israel's fourth election in a little over a year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ynet New said.

According to the Likud, the latest rescue package, drafted by Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz, will cost the taxpayer around 8.5 billion shekels ($2.5 million) and seeks to support those hit worst by the economic crisis.

Quds Press reported Israeli General Radio saying that if the two parties fail to pass the budget draft by 25 August, the government would be dissolved, and Israel would be heading for its fourth election in November.

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