Netanyahu to meet Gantz: Unity government is matter of security, not politics

Netanyahu said that national and security challenges require a government with “broad shoulders.”

By World Israel News Staff

“We must make tough decisions that require a government with broad shoulders, hence the importance of forming a broad national unity government,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday morning.

The importance of a unity government “is not a political question, but a national and security question of the highest order. I hope that we can advance this goal in the coming days. This was my goal immediately after the elections and it remains our goal. This is what the State of Israel needs now,” the prime minister said.

“We see what is happening in the Middle East. The Middle East is again in upheaval. Lebanon, Iraq and Syria are in turmoil and Iran is running amok through these areas,” Netanyahu said.

“We know that the force that has served us up until now must continue to strengthen in the face of all these phenomena. This requires tough decisions. What the Chief-of-Staff and I have said is not spin; it reflects the reality of present challenges and those of the near future.”

Netanyahu will meet later in the afternoon with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv. It will be their first meeting in a month.

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Israel Hayom reports on Sunday that Netanyahu’s confidantes said, “The prime minister intends to hear what Gantz has to say. It’s possible to weigh everything with respect, but there’s an excellent suggestion that the prime minister intends to return to – the president’s outline. It’s forbidden to boycott whole populations – the haredim and the religious.”

Gantz has been tasked with building a coalition government after Netanyahu failed to do so. He has 28 days to cobble together 61 Knesset seats – the necessary minimum majority. If not, a majority of Knesset members may submit a request to President Reuven Rivlin to give the role of forming a government to another MK – it could be any Member of Knesset. That MK will have 21 days to form a government.