‘There’s no other way,’ says Gantz in unity plea to Netanyahu

Benny Gantz urged Benjamin Netanyahu to move forward with unity government negotiations, speaking on live TV just minutes after the prime minister addressed the nation.

By World Israel News Staff

On Monday night, Blue and White’s Benny Gantz took to the airwaves in Israel shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced new corona-related travel restrictions during a live address.

Gantz’s comments focused on negotiations to form a unity government with Netanyahu’s Likud Party, discussions that have ground to a halt as the nation continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

During his speech on Monday, Gantz appealed directly to Netanyahu, claiming that the prime minister had already acquiesced in principle to Blue and White’s coalition conditions.

Without referencing them directly, Gantz also referred to his party’s non-negotiable demands, in addition to claiming that the corona “emergency” had forced him to break his promise not to sit in a government with an indicted Netanyahu, who faces charges in three corruption cases.

Israel has operated with a caretaker government since the first of three rounds of elections were held last year.

While Netanyahu and Gantz appeared close to forming a unity government last month, the negotiations faltered. Gantz’s mandate to form a coalition expires at midnight on Monday. President Reuven Rivlin appears poised to  permit members of the Knesset to nominate a prime minister candidate, who would then have the opportunity to try to form a government.

The Likud Party has asked Rivlin to return the mandate to Netanyahu, an overture that the president appears likely to rebuff.

“Even if [the unity deal] doesn’t happen by midnight,” Netanyahu said in his address on Monday, “we will make every effort to create a unity government that the country needs so badly during these times.”

If no candidate is able to  form a governing coalition, Israel will be forced to return to the polls for a fourth straight election in a little over a year’s time.