In an interview with Channel 13 News on Thursday evening, Finance Minister Yisrael Katz blasted the Likud members who had resigned from the party, claiming that they would have remained "if the political circumstances were appropriate for them."
Katz specifically criticized former senior Likud official Gideon Sa’ar, saying, "If he was close to my status in the party - he would not have resigned."
He added he would continue to serve as Finance Minister if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu forms the next government.
Katz also commented on the crisis in the government that led to early elections, claiming that "the Prime Minister has no responsibility for the fact that the 2021 budget has not been approved - Blue and White opposed bringing the issue to the table."
"The budgets were ready, but the political debate prevented their approval - Blue and White were opposed because of the debate over the rotation [in the post of Prime Minister]," he added.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu claimed during a meeting of the Likud's constitutional committee on Wednesday that his party would win 40 seats in the upcoming elections - despite the coronavirus. In recordings published from the meeting on Thursday, Netanyahu explains how he thinks this will be possible.
"After the first lockdown, when it appeared that the coronavirus was behind us, we went up to 40 seats and stayed there for four months. We started to go down when it became clear that the disease had returned and then we lost those 10 seats," Netanyahu said in the recording, adding, "We can reach 40 seats. There are problems with the business owners that we need to help and there are other opportunities that I will not list here in all sorts of sectors but it is not unrealistic."
The Prime Minister continued, "We will get up to 40 seats, I do not know if we will get over 40, but we will bring it not despite the coronavirus, but thanks to it."
Netanyahu's remarks were made in an attempt to convince the committee that the primaries for the Likud slate should be canceled and that he be given six spots in the first 40 places on the slate to reserve for candidates of his choice.