Gantz to meet with Likud treasury chief to discuss state budget

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says he’ll meet with Finance Minister Israel Katz of Likud on Sunday to discuss the state budget, which is as the core of coalition infighting.

“Finance Minister Israel Katz has reached out to Defense Minister Benny Gantz, requesting a meeting to present a budget for 2020-2021. The two are expected to meet sometime next Sunday,” Gantz’s spokesperson says in a laconic statement.

The statement comes a day after Gantz’s Blue and White backed a bill to dissolve the Knesset and call early elections, appearing to set the stage for a fourth round of elections in under two years.

If the Knesset dissolution bill isn’t ultimately approved, the government has until December 23 to pass a 2020 budget or the government will fall and elections will automatically be scheduled for March 23, 2021.

Likud and Blue and White feuded almost since the inception of their power-sharing coalition in May, but ties between the two hit a nadir in recent weeks as the budget deadline nears. Gantz has accused Prime Minister Netanyahu of refusing to pass the 2020 and 2021 state budgets in one shot — as per the coalition agreement — in an attempt to prevent Gantz from becoming prime minister in November 2021, also as per the coalition agreement.

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