Gantz open to rotation talks with Netanyahu

Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz

Blue & White chairman Benny Gantz has told YNet that he is open to a national unity government with Netanyahu providing he is prime minister first.

Blue & White chairman Benny Gantz today revealed details of talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud before the Knesset was dissolved in May and said he is open to future negotiations after the September 17 elections. Speaking in an interview with YNet, Gantz said that if Netanyahu offered a rotation agreement, in which he Gantz would be prime minister first, then it would be possible to start talking.

Speaking to Moran Azulai, Gantz said that Netanyahu would be delighted to break up Blue & White but he and his partners are determined in their values. During negotiations earlier this year, representatives of Netanyahu came to Gantz with all sorts of ideas and proposals. Netanyahu himself, did not take any risks, in other words he did not speak personally with Gantz but sent representatives but he added, "If Netanyahu wants to propose rotation and I will go first, then it will be possible to talk about things."

This remark by Gantz demonstrates that despite previous comments about not joining a coalition with Netanyahu because of the possibility that he will be indicted, Gantz is nevertheless open to considering it, albeit if he is prime minister first.

The possibility of rotation came up during an exchange of messages between the sides in May, and again arises because the polls are showing an inability for Netanyahu to set up a right wing government or Gantz to set up a left wing government. Avigdor Liberman is the one primarily pushing for a national unit coalition providing it includes no haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties.

In a recent article in "Israel Hayom," Netanyahu pledged that he would only set up a right-wing government and would not work towards establishing a national unity government, but such a pledge does not seem viable if the polls are realized. In May, Netanyahu did negotiate with the Labor party and almost reached agreement with the party leader Avi Gabbay. Now Gantz is indicating that despite his harsh comments about Netanyahu, and his dismissal of the idea of a national unity coalition because of a possible indictment against Netanyahu, there is still something to talk about. One interpretation of Gantz's latest ploy is to tempt hesitant voters away from the Likud as a way out of the political stalemate without bringing a genuinely left-wing party into the coalition.

The Democratic Camp (Meretz + Barak) said about Gantz's comments, "Instead of courageously looking reality in the eyes and leading the required and necessary change for the State of Israel and its citizens, Gantz is crawling to the Netanyahu government, which will destroy the rule of law and bring destruction to Israeli democracy."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on August 11, 2019

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