A total of 55 Knesset members recommended to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu be the one tasked with forming the next government, making it likely that Rivlin will acquiesce to their demand.
Previously, Blue and White candidate MK Benny Gantz had 57 MKs recommending him for premier. However, Rivlin accepted the request by the Joint Arab List’s Balad faction to withdraw their recommendation, leaving Gantz with a maximum of just 54 recommendations.
The President usually taps the leader of the largest party to form a government, but if the leader of the largest party has less MKs supporting him or her, the President may ask the leader of the second-largest party to form the coalition.
On Monday, Rivlin met with the smaller parties elected to the Knesset, including the Ashkenazic-haredi UTJ party, which recommended Netanyahu and complained of the center-left’s inciting campaigns against their sector.
“We did not hear any protests about boycotting the haredim,” UTJ leader and Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said. MK Moshe Gafni added: “They spoke against the haredi sector, and that is something we cannot accept.”
Rivlin has not yet spoken to representatives of the Knesset’s Labor-Gesher party or the Democratic Union party, both of which are expected to back Gantz’s bid for premiership.