Coalition crisis? ‘If the right-wing gov’t falls, it’ll be Ben-Gvir’s fault’

After Likud refuses to transfer promised funds for communities in the Galilee and Negev regions, Otzma Yehudit boycotts critical votes.

By World Israel News Staff

Tensions are running high between National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the premier failed to live up to a coalition agreement with the Otzma Yehudit party to provide substantial budget funding to communities in the Negev and Galilee regions.

As an act of protest on Wednesday, Ben-Gvir, who is the head of Otzma Yehudit, ordered his party mates to boycott coalition voting. His party obeyed, with their MKs missing critical votes – leading to the opposition successfully passing a bill.

But Netanyahu’s Likud – which is the largest political party in both the Knesset and among Israeli voters – is reportedly sending a message that they will not cave to threats from their coalition partner.

According to Ynet, Likud officials told Otzma Yehudit officials that it’s “impossible to work like this” and that they would certainly not transfer the funds after the smaller party’s stunt, arguing that doing so would be “giving in to an ultimatum.”

Likud MK Ofir Katz slammed Otzma Yehudit in a statement, charging that they were “paving the way for the fall of the right-wing government.”

An anonymous Likud official told Hebrew-language media that “the fall of the right-wing government will be Ben-Gvir’s fault.”

The official alleged that the lawmaker “cares more about media coverage than maintaining the right-wing government and the integrity of the coalition…Maybe it really is better that they bring down the government. We’ll go to elections and the public will reject the parties that brought down a right-wing government.”

Despite Likud’s chastising, Otzma Yehudit MKs signaled that they are not planning to back down.

In a statement, the party said that “the residents of the Negev and the Galilee, and the periphery, are just as important as coalition discipline.”

Notably, the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party has also been expressing displeasure with the current government, threatening to bring down the coalition should a law easing the IDF exemption process for yeshiva students not be passed by the end of the month.