Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu worked long and hard to put together his coalition after last March’s elections – and he did, putting together a government of 61, the minimum number needed to run a government.
But that’s likely to change – possibly for the better, said Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein. “The makeup of the coalition is likely to change after the budget is approved.” However, Edelstein hinted, that could mean that Netanyahu would succeed in bringing more parties into the government. It was unlikely that the current government would fall apart, because, he said, “no one is interested in having elections now.”
Political pundits wondered Monday how Edelstein’s rosy predictions lined up with the political reality of the government’s two year budget, which must be passed into law in the coming weeks. Moshe Kahlon of Kulanu, who has been seeking to hold back transfer payments in order to fund programs to lower the cost of housing, has been sparring openly with Aryeh Deri, head of Shas, who is seeking increases in payments for families with children, the elderly, and others. Both have said that they are not seeking to create a coalition crisis – but both have also said that they would not back down from their demands.
Nevertheless, Edelstein remained optimistic, he said. “I do not see the opposition licking its chops and enjoying the ‘show’ of the coalition’s problems, which is a sign to me that we are doing something right.” Regarding the dispute on how to apportion the budget, Edelstein said that “the politicians made their promises, but now it is time to govern.”