An Israeli radio station has said that the country is likely to have a third General Election soon after the second round of coalition talks between the Likud and Blue and White parties failed to reach agreement yesterday. Blaming each other for the failure of the talks, the parties nevertheless agreed to meet again for a “last ditch” effort on Wednesday, the same day that Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption hearing begins.
This would be the third General Election since April’s, which also ended in stalemate. Sources from the Yisrael Beiteinu party said that it is ready to join the talks if Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of the Likud, proposed this to counterpart and former minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Alternatively, the incumbent Prime Minister may go back to President Reuven Rivlin to say that he can’t form a coalition, at which point Rivlin would ask another party leader — probably Blue and White’s Benny Gantz — to try. Gantz is paying a flying visit to London but is expected to be back in Israel before Wednesday’s talks resume.
A statement from Blue and White said that Likud is sticking to its precondition of what it called “Netanyahu first” in, for example, a possible rotational premiership.
“Within this framework, Likud is insistent on the 55-member bloc and on throwing around slogans with the sole aim of generating support in preparation for dragging Israel into another round of elections at the behest of Netanyahu,” it was claimed. “The State of Israel needs a broad, stable and liberal unity government under the leadership of Benny Gantz — we will continue to pursue this goal and this goal alone.”
Critics point out that former General Gantz is far from being a liberal, having commanded the so-called Israel Defence Forces during the 2014 military offensive against the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip. He currently faces allegations of war crimes being heard by a court in Holland.