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Isreal: There was no progress in meeting with Netanyahu

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Blue and White co-chairman Yair Lapid said “what Netanyahu has to do is be second in the rotation. Once that happens we can form a government in 48 hours.” By Lahav Harkov- 28:10: 2019

The meeting between Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not go anywhere, the former said in a faction meeting in the Knesset Monday.

“The meeting with Netanyahu was businesslike, but we didn’t succeed in making progress,” Gantz said. “We do not just want to hold the steering wheel; we want to determine where to go.”Read More Related Articles

Gantz said that in negotiations he his focused foremost on national security and the state budget, and not “suspensions or immunity or serving while under indictment.”

“The citizens of Israel come first. We will serve them,” he stated.

Gantz spoke a day after his first meeting with Netanyahu since receiving the mandate to form the next government.

The Blue and White leader pointed to a “central difficulty” in the coalition talks, that the Likud wants to negotiate in the name of the entire 55-seat right-wing bloc.

“We will listen to small parties, but we will not let them dictate the national agenda. The good option is still a unity government with Likud. The worst is an election,” he stated.

Gantz added that his party “will try to do everything to reach unity, but we will not give up on any option to form a government and prevent an election,” an apparent reference to a minority government with outside support from the Joint List.

Blue and White co-chairman Yair Lapid said “what Netanyahu has to do is be second in the rotation. Once that happens we can form a government in 48 hours.”

Gantz also met with Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman on Monday, in a meeting that Liberman said was positive and focused only on matters of national security.

The two discussed “my view on Gaza, whether we continue the policy of surrender or not, what is happening with the Palestinian matter and the settlements in Judea and Samaria, with Iran,” Liberman said.

Liberman said that, contrary to reports, he and Gantz do not have an agreement that Blue and White won’t form a coalition without him.

“There are so many difficult decisions to be made in matters of security and they cannot be made in a narrow coalition,” Liberman said in a Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting. “We need a broad national agreement, and that would be first of all with the two large parties forming the government. We would be happy to be part of it, but even without us it’s better than going to another election.”

Liberman suggested that Netanyahu give up on the rest of the right-wing bloc and be first in a rotation with Gantz for the premiership.

Liberman also emphasized that he will not support various initiatives Blue and White has sought to promote in the Knesset before a government is formed, including passing a law that would require a prime minister to resign if he is under indictment, replacing the Knesset Speaker, and manning the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee.

Gantz is expected to meet with Labor-Gesher leaders Amir Peretz and Orly Levy-Abecassis on Monday evening.

Peretz said in a Labor-Gesher faction meeting that his party wants to help Gantz replace Netanyahu, as well as Netanyahu’s policies.

“We are talking about a government of change in social matters and laws on the social subject must be at the center of the next government’s guidelines,” Peretz stated. “We want a social Iron Dome that will ensure a different health and education system for the citizens of Israel…We won’t blink and won’t change our stances.”


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