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Israel: Gantz’s calls for unity against Netanyahu rejected

January 13, 2021 at 11:08 am

Israeli defence minister and alternate prime minister Benny Gantz in Jerusalem on 5 July 2020 [GALI TIBBON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Most Israeli parties have declared their refusal to unite or merge with the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance chaired by Alternate Prime Minister and Defence Minister Benny Gantz, local media reported yesterday.

“I am willing to sacrifice much for Bibi to go. If we get rid of our egos, we’ll get rid of Bibi,” Gantz had said in a press conference, using Benjamin Netanyahu’s nickname. “We cannot let [Netanyahu] smash us into splinters of parties,” he added.

However, his calls fell on deaf ears as he was looked at by other parties as the man who splintered his own party by joining a coalition with Netanyahu last year.

Several recent surveys found that Gantz is now polling at 4-5 seats in the Knesset; however, he entered the dissolved Knesset with 33 seats. Some monitors have said that Gantz is in danger of falling below the 3.25 per cent threshold for entering the Knesset.

According to the Times of Israel, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said: “We shall make every effort to form alliances that will lead to a sane, liberal government that will change the country.”

But sources within the party told the paper that Gantz did not respect the obligations and promises he made when he joined the government with Netanyahu. “So how can Lapid take him back and trust him now?”

READ: Blue and White likely to collapse after departure of key figures

For his part, the head of Yisrael Beiteinu Avigdor Lieberman addressed Gantz saying: “You had the opportunity to get rid of Netanyahu, but you chose to become a reserve Prime Minister. What you can do in favour of the state is your declaration not to go for the next elections.”

He accused Gantz of spoiling the political system in Israel; therefore, he should pay the price and leave political life. He said there is no need to meet with him because he “is not credible”.

Israel is due to hold its fourth election in two years as its coalition government collapsed last month after it could not agree on a budget.

Netanyahu's corruption scandal - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Netanyahu’s corruption scandal – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]