Netanyahu rumored to be looking for new coalition partners

The prime minister is looking for replacements so he can rid himself of Blue and White, reports say.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Few political observers in Israel give much hope for the long-term survival of Israel’s coalition. Its two main players, Likud and Blue and White, have acted more like antagonists than partners since the government’s formation in May.

The latest rumor is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed his Likud confederates to begin a “quiet check” into whether there are potential partners in the Knesset for a narrow-margin government which would enable him to eject Blue and White.

However, individual politicians whose names have reached the press as replacements have quickly rejected the idea that they would leave their parties to join Netanyahu.

The Yemina party and Israel Beiteinu party have also said they won’t join, though for different reasons.

Blue and White has expressed its displeasure with the state of affairs. It used its power of veto to cancel the weekly cabinet meeting normally held on Sundays due to the threat of new elections. It said it would only be willing to hold a meeting if the corona pandemic was the topic of discussion.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz also attacked Netanyahu personally. In a Zoom call with party members, he said, “I do not think it is okay to have a prime minister with three indictments…

“I don’t divide to rule and I don’t disparage anyone to strengthen my base. Ask yourself who the people are who behave differently from me. Who disparages to strengthen their base, who divides to continue to rule. The group here is a group with a high level of intelligence, so I don’t need pundits to interpret what I’m saying.”

The main disagreement, or perhaps pretext to hold new elections, centers around passing the budget. The government has two weeks to do so. If it fails to reach an agreement, the country will automatically go to elections, which would be held in November. It would be the fourth round of elections in less than two years.