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Israel: Likud pressuring Labor leader Amir Peretz to reject Gantz’s overtures

Former Israeli Defence Minister, Amir Peretz [File photo]
Amir Peretz, leader of Israel's Labor Party [File photo]

Likud is reportedly pressuring Labor party leader Amir Peretz to reject attempts by Blue and White chair Benny Gantz to form a minority coalition government, as post-election wrangling continues.

With a third election in a year resulting in another split Knesset that leaves neither Benjamin Netanyahu nor Gantz with a clear path to government, the former military chief is holding talks with opposition parties to see if a minority government might unseat Netanyahu.

However, even Blue and White’s natural ally, the Labor-Meretz-Gesher list, is presenting problems.

On Tuesday, Gesher head Orly Levy-Abekasis revealed that she would not back a Gantz minority coalition if it relied on external support from the Arab-dominated Joint List.

Israel: Gantz agrees on Lieberman’s conditions for joining left-wing alliance

Encouraged by such developments, Likud “has already approached Labor leader Amir Peretz, prodding him to join a Netanyahu-led government”, reported Israel Hayom.

The paper said it has learned “senior Likud officials have been pressuring Peretz and telling him that Blue and White are only using him for the purpose of preventing Netanyahu from getting a fifth government sworn in.”

The report continued that the Likud officials warned Peretz “that Blue and White will ultimately join Netanyahu and form a unity government”.

“When that happens, ‘Blue and White will throw you under the bus’ and he will essentially have zero political clout, they have communicated,” Israel Hayom added.

“They further said that in such a scenario, he would at best get an unimportant portfolio in the new Netanyahu government or the chairmanship of a Knesset committee,” the report continued.

Yesterday, President Reuven Rivlin urged Gantz and Netanyahu to reach a power-sharing deal and form a unity government. After such a fractious and divisive election campaign, this seems unlikely, however. A fourth election thus cannot be ruled out.

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