Blue and White issues ultimatum to Likud, threatens 4th elections

Blue and White said Likud chief negotiator Yariv Levin was the man responsible for torpedoing the talks.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz sent a strong message to Likud officials, saying there are only two options at this stage of the negotiations to form a unity government; Likud must accept the original agreement, which gave Blue and White power over judicial appointments, or there will be a fourth round of elections.

“Minister Yariv Levin is dragging Israel into elections,” said a Blue and White party official to Israel Hayom, blaming the Likud party’s chief negotiator.

“There were already four printed copies of the unity government agreement ready to be signed, wine glasses already set out, and then Levin began to threaten Netanyahu. He succeeded in torpedoing the emergency government. Levin is the man actually running the country,” he said.

According to the same Blue and White official, any Likud attempts to resume negotiations will be rejected. The only way that talks could continue would be if Likud announced that it’s ready to sign the original agreement, which includes leaving judicial appointments in the hands of the justice minister. As the justice minister will be a Blue and White appointee, it means effectively giving the party control of the process.

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Sources from Likud told Israel Hayom that they never agreed to give full power over the Judicial Selections Committee to Blue and White, and they’ve consistently pushed for veto rights on judicial appointments throughout the negotiations.

The Yamina party, led by Defense Minister Naftali Bennet and former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, has equivocated on joining a Netanyahu-Gantz unity government.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, MK Shaked wrote, “If the prime minister gives up the grip on the judiciary committee, it means that Aharon Barak can say: ‘This is the dawn of a new day.’ The idea of ​​incest between political parties and the judiciary is a real possibility.”

Shaked said, “The democratic revolution has begun. I will fight with all my strength to continue… The balance of power between the branches of government has been violated beyond recognition. I decided that this will not be the case anymore.”