Israeli opposition parties deride Gantz’s call to unite against Netanyahu

Several parties say that the best way to help unseat the prime minister is for Blue and White to disband.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Left-wing parties have rejected the lead that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz tried taking to unite the opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his Monday night admission that he had erred in joining a Likud-led coalition following last March’s elections.

Leader of the Opposition Yesh Atid swiftly responded by saying that it would be the party to spearhead such a move.

“We will make every effort to [forge the] connections that will lead to a sane and liberal government that will change the country,” it said.

Meretz head Nitzan Horowitz, possibly referring to the crashing poll numbers of Blue and White, said “Every morning someone decides that he is establishing a party that is a nothing. Whoever gets fractions of percentage points should retire and not waste votes. We are Left and this time we will run alone,” he said.

Avigdor Liberman (Israel Beiteinu) attacked Gantz, who had led the opposition before the last election, but then joined with Netanyahu in a government after promising during the campaign not to do so.

“We already had the chance to unseat Bibi [Netanyahu], but you chose to become a reserve prime minister,” he tweeted. “The only thing that you can do now for the sake of the country is to announce that you are not running in the next Knesset.”

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As head of an amalgam of parties united under the name Blue and White, Gantz had come closest to unseating Netanyahu in three successive elections over the course of 2019-2020. He would have been the undisputed leader of the opposition had he not joined the emergency government last March. He explained his decision, saying that the country could not afford fourth elections when it had to fight the global Covid-19 pandemic that had just hit Israel’s shores.

Gantz had called out the names of the leaders of all the parties who have taken a firm public stand against Netanyahu. This included established ones such as Meretz, Israel Beiteinu and Yesh Atid, that last of which will undoubtedly be in the next Knesset, and newly formed parties such as The Israelis, Tnufa, the Economy party, and Telem, which just broke away from Yesh Atid to run alone.

Out of these, only Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai’s Israelis is currently polling above the electoral threshold.

“Let’s meet, we’ll find the method, the way. Let’s go into a room already tomorrow and we’ll find solutions,” he said.

“At a time of emergency, we cannot run with shards of parties. Let’s unite for the good of the state without fear and ego,” he said, adding that he didn’t have to be the one to lead such an umbrella group. The important thing was to “ensure that Netanyahu is finished as prime minister and we lead the next government in a unified way that respects all Israeli citizens.”

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