Israel’s deal with the United Arab Emirates helped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party bounce back in polls broadcast on Sunday night’s prime-time news shows after weeks of sliding.
Likud rose from 29 seats two weeks ago to 32, according to a survey taken by pollster Camil Fuchs for Channel 13. Likud rose only one seat from 29 to 30, a Channel 12 poll found, but the ruling party stopped its long downward trend.
The Israeli public overwhelmingly supports the peace accord and considers it an achievement for Netanyahu, both polls found.
Netanyahu lashed out at Blue and White on Sunday in an interview with Army Radio.
“It’s not the ideal government,” he said. “There are, unfortunately, elements in the government that act against the government. If not for the fight against the coronavirus, the governing coalition would have already broken up.”
The current political crisis was “not difficult” and would be solvable if there is a desire in Blue and White to resolve it, Netanyahu said.
Asked if he is trying to influence key appointments, such as police inspector-general, he criticized Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit for trying to prevent him from being involved in the decisions.
“The very notion that in a democracy anyone is above criticism or above the law is absurd,” he said. “Neither the prime minister nor the attorney-general is above the law. We know in which countries that is different.”
Progress was made again on Sunday in negotiations between negotiating teams of Likud and Blue and White in an effort to end the political crisis. Agreements had been reached on most key issues, participants said.
One dispute that remains involves a demand by Likud for a proposal that would enable more political appointments to key posts in government ministries.
The Knesset Finance Committee and then the Knesset plenum will vote on Monday on Derech Eretz MK Zvi Hauser’s proposal to postpone the deadline to pass a state budget from August 24 to December 3. If the bill does not pass by the current deadline, November elections would be initiated automatically.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman called upon opposition factions to oppose the bill. He said Israel needs stability and clear economic policies.
“Netanyahu will find another excuse to take Israel to elections,” he said.
Meretz faction head Tamar Zandberg called Hauser’s legislation “a bad joke at the public’s expense.”
“Israel needs a socioeconomically sensitive budget that will not be caught in a political game and will provide funding to health, welfare, education and social services,” she said.