Netanyahu and Gantz talk unity at historic meeting, teams will meet

Netanyahu and Gantz have their first meeting in what could be a significant step toward a unity government. 

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party head Benny Gantz met at the request of President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence on Monday evening.

At the end of the meeting, the teams of Netanyahu and Gantz issued a joint statement: “They talked about ways to advance the unity of Israel and agreed that the leaders of the two parties would meet tomorrow. The president invited the two to another meeting Wednesday evening at his residence.”

The meeting began at 8:00 p.m. and lasted for two hours. About an hour through, President Rivlin left the meeting to allow the two party leaders to talk alone.

After the meeting, Rivlin, who has made no secret of the fact that he wishes to see a national unity government formed, said:

“We took a significant step tonight, and now the first challenge is to build a direct channel of dialogue with trust between the parties. The nation expects you to find a solution and prevent another election, both at a personal cost and sometimes ideological. This is not the time for boycotts. A joint and equal government is possible. It can and should express different and varied voices in society.”

Read  Netanyahu: 'We will continue' to attack Iran's nuclear sites, despite int'l atomic agency's objections

In referring to boycotts, Rivlin likely meant Gantz’s repeated promise during the campaign to never sit in a government together with Netanyahu, citing as the reason the pending corruption cases against him. A pre-indictment hearing regarding whether to move forward on those cases will begin on October 2.

Following the meeting, Netanyahu held a conference call with the leaders of the right-wing parties with whom he formed a technical bloc immediately following the elections to update them on the conversation with Gantz.

Netanyahu said that he stressed to Gantz that he represents all of the national camp and negotiates on its behalf. He told them: “I am committed to what I promised you.”