Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz met on Tuesday with MKs from his Israel Resilience Party as well as with several MKs from Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Moshe Ya’alon’s Telem party, and concluded that there is no chance to form a minority government supported by the predominantly Arab Joint List party.
Channel 13 News reported that the other three leaders of the party – Lapid, Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi – share this understanding as well and support the establishment of a unity government in an emergency format to begin with.
A vote on the identity of the Speaker of the 23rd Knesset is expected to take place on Wednesday after the Supreme Court instructed Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to hold the vote.
According to the report, Ashkenazi said in closed talks that Blue and White should stop its fight to appoint its own representative as Knesset Speaker so as not to anger the Likud. Gantz’s people then sent messages to the Likud stating that even if MK Meir Cohen is elected to the role, as expected, they could allow a situation in which he is removed from the role.
On Tuesday, Gantz stated in a Facebook post that he has not yet given up on the possibility of a government headed by him being established.
“First of all, we will bring Israeli democracy back to functionality – and then we will form a government to address coronavirus and the additional challenges at stake,” he wrote.
“Yesterday we set up the Finance Committee and the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and today we also set up a committee to address the issue of the coronavirus and other committees that are critical at this time. By tomorrow, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling, we will appoint a Knesset Speaker as is required in a democratic state. The spins, the unrestrained attacks on the court, will not affect me and my partners. First of all, I will restore Israeli democracy to full functioning – without fear. Then I intend to discuss all possible ways to form a unity government that will fight the coronavirus and address the additional challenges we face,” he added.
Gantz responded to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call for the establishment of a unity government immediately and wrote, “Netanyahu, the gaps between us are substantial. I am fighting for the activation of Israeli democracy, and I hope you will join me in these efforts. And more importantly – you must clearly tell the people of Israel that the rulings of the court are to be obeyed and that there will be no anarchy in Israel. Israeli democracy must not be trampled in the name of the coronavirus crisis that requires thorough treatment – medically, socially and economically. Not on my watch.”