Talks on vaccine purchases stuck as Likud, Blue and White fight

The Likud and Blue and White parties continue to duke it out over Israel’s purchase of additional coronavirus vaccine stocks.

Earlier today, negotiators from the two parties met at the treasury in an attempt to hammer out an agreement.

The meeting ended without any breakthroughs, with Blue and White accusing Likud’s Finance Minister Israel Katz of conditioning the purchase of the shots on the advancement of other financial policies.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (left) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the swearing-in ceremony for the 24th Knesset, April 6, 2021 (Knesset spokesperson)

In a statement after the meeting, Likud accuses Gantz of endangering Israelis.

“We urge him to come to his senses and not continue to endanger the lives and health of Israeli citizens,” Likud says, accusing Gantz of seeking to “bring back the lockdowns.”

The transitional cabinet must sign off on the vaccine purchase, which has been delayed over disagreements between Gantz and Netanyahu.

Following Monday’s meeting, Gantz says he’s been persuaded to approve the budget for the vaccines, but conditions his support on the appointment of a permanent justice minister. Israel currently has no justice minister.

“Every Israeli must ask themselves why a prime minister who is charged with crimes is refusing to appoint a justice minister, even at the expense of ‘bringing back the lockdowns,’ as they claim. The only answer is that he places his trial above the needs of the state; and it’s time he goes home,” Gantz’s office says.

Israel has enough vaccines to fully inoculate the remaining unvaccinated population and to give a single shot to recovered COVID-19 patients, Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy has said. However, he said Israel needed a continuing supply of shots and wanted to “get ahead of the rest of the world.”

Levy explained that it is not known how many vaccine boosters individuals may need to stay protected from the virus in the long run.

Israel is seeking 36 million more doses, Reuters reported.

Those shots will also be used to inoculate children.

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