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Netanyahu, Gantz to meet tonight to form unity government

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz will meet on Monday night in an attempt to bring about a national emergency government during the night.

Negotiations between the Blue and White and Likud parties continued throughout the day Monday, the last day of Gantz’s mandate to form a government.

Following the conciliatory statements of the two party leaders earlier, the parties decided to hold a meeting and try to close the remaining disagreements on the way to forming the government.

Gantz said that “after the last elections, a new emergency was created, and we faced two options: to drag Israel into a fourth election or to set up a national emergency government. I chose to follow a path to form a government while taking personal and political risks. I didn’t want Blue and White to fall apart, but I didn’t flinch when my colleagues did and went ahead.”

“The emergency has forced us all to recalculate. Netanyahu realized he needed my help in dealing with the crisis. We are in a tough war, the number of dead is increasing and reaching huge proportions. At this hour, no one will preach to me about politics and rebuke me for choosing our citizens,” said Gantz.

He said, “A few days ago, Netanyahu and I reached a decent conclusion, a conclusion that provides a fair distribution of the huge burden facing the emergency government. We have reached the summaries. I hope and insist that we exercise them for the benefit of Israel’s citizens. A strong leader is tested in the ability to lead and not to be lead. Netanyahu, we have reached the moment of truth. History will not forgive those who flee. The citizens expect us to make tough decisions, they expect us to decide that we are loyal to the state and its citizens first of all.”

Netanyahu said in response: ” Benny, I am waiting for you at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem – let’s meet and sign another tonight for the establishment of a national emergency government that will save lives and work for Israeli citizens.”

The urgency to sign a deal is a result of President Reuven Rivlin’s decision not to extend the 28-day period Gantz got to form a government.

Rivlin said that because a unity government was not ready to be finalized, there was no point in extending. This means that come Tuesday at midnight, the mandate moves to the Knesset, which will have 21 days to appoint a prime minister with a majority of MKs. If that doesn’t happen, new elections will automatically be triggered.