Netanyahu-Gantz meeting on economic aid package canceled amid recriminations

A planned meeting today between Likud and Blue and White to discuss a Likud-led proposal for a new economic aid package has been canceled amid intense disagreements.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Israel Katz have been pushing the plan hard in recent days, saying the economy, private citizens and small businesses need a fresh injection of money to get through the next few months, beyond the unemployment payments and bimonthly stipends for businesses that are currently in effect until June.

But Blue and white chief Benny Gantz contends that Likud’s financial plan, which includes handouts to all Israelis below a gross monthly income of NIS 13,050 ($4,000), is insufficiently selective and amounts to an attempt by the prime minister to buy public support ahead of the March 23 elections.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has also warned aspects of the plan are legally problematic in the lead-up to an election.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

In a statement just now, Netanyahu says: “It is inconceivable that irresponsible politicians and bureaucrats and attorneys general will stand against the people, and won’t allow us to bring the money, and say ‘Wait a few months, whoever dies dies.’

“We are for the people. We’ll bring you the money. We won’t stop fighting for you.”

Gantz, meanwhile, issues a statement saying, “We will not hold a meeting about a fake economic plan, without sources or feasibility, whose purpose is vote-buying.”

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