Shaky start to coalition as Netanyahu arouses Gantz’s ire

“Make order in your house,” Blue and White head Benny Gantz tells the prime minister as disagreements arise just days after the unity government is sworn in.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The honeymoon period for Israel’s largest coalition government in history is over, as Blue and White is angry about Likud behavior on a number of issues, Kan’s “This Morning” news show reported Monday.

Most of the complaints are about the working relationship within the coalition regarding Knesset matters, which came to a head on Wednesday, before the legislature took a long weekend off for the Shavuot holiday.

The report said that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz believes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to delay the passage of the so-called Norwegian Law. Netanyahu had been in the plenum when the initial reading of the law came up on Wednesday but did not cast a vote while Gantz did.

The coalition agreement stipulated the need for the law, which enables a certain number of ministers in each party to resign their Knesset seats in favor of the next people on their party lists. Blue and White and Likud had agreed that the record number of 36 ministers meant that there wouldn’t be enough full-time MKs to allow the legislature to work properly. The first reading passed easily in the plenum, even without Netanyahu’s vote.

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Another potentially major problem is the difference of opinion regarding the application of sovereignty to areas of Judea and Samaria as envisioned in the Trump peace plan. Netanyahu is publicly sticking to the July date he has promised to introduce sovereignty legislation.

Gantz and others in his center-left party have hedged on the issue. Tourism Minister Asaf Zamir said in an interview Wednesday that his party has “control over the process,” but the coalition agreement indicates that while Gantz is to be consulted, he cannot veto the potential law.

Earlier Likud comments to the press also aroused Blue and White ire.

In an interview with Yediot Ahronot’s weekend edition, Transportation Minister Miri Regev said that Gantz was “not ready” to be prime minister.

“He’s not ready,” she said. “Let’s see what will happen in this next year and a half. If he’ll learn from the best and come to the job prepared.”

Party chairman MK Eytan Ginzburg tweeted in reaction, “It would be preferable that [Regev] deal with issues of her ministry and present work plans for the improvement of the lives of the citizens of Israel rather than defaming a person who devoted his whole life to the country. Shame.”

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Gantz went to a pre-scheduled meeting with Netanyahu Wednesday, demanded that the prime minister “make order at home” before they could talk more, and then left.

Netanyahu then reportedly scolded Regev, and the party put out a conciliatory statement, saying, “The campaign is over and it is time for unity. It is time to stop the personal attacks on every side. The elections are behind us and the joint tasks before us and we must join hands for the citizens of Israel.”