Israel: Political Impasse Continues After Likud Forms Right-Wing Bloc

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Benny Gantz, head of Blue and White Party (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud Party. Credit: Gili Yaari /Flash90 and Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90

Jerusalem- In a masterful display of audacity, Prime Minister Netanyahu has succeeded in turning what may have appeared to be political defeat into a stalemate, with no side capable of claiming victory at present. The Likud adopted a two-pronged initial strategy after the election results came in.  Firstly it stressed that Binyamin Netanyahu will not be ousted as head of the party and secondly that the Likud won’t abandon its natural political partners – the national-religious and Chareidi parties.

In the afternoon hours Wednesday, Netanyahu convened the heads of the Yamina and United Torah Judaism parties (Shas leader Aryeh Deri was at a memorial service for the late Religious Services Minister David Azoulay), where the sides decided to wage coalition negotiations as one bloc. In a statement, Likud officials said that a joint negotiating team from right-wing bloc parties, headed by Netanyahu, would work together to establish the next government.

Moreover, Netanyahu realized that the job of forming a government would be a formidable if not insurmountable task for either side. He therefore called on Blue-And-White leader Benny Gantz to join forces with him in forming a national unity government. Gantz predictably refused to even meet with Netanyahu, since his entire campaign revolved around replacing Israel’s prime minister. Yet this puts Gantz in a bad light as the one who may cause yet another election with his refusal to compromise- a thought Israelis don’t even want to entertain

According to the final results which arrived Thursday, Blue-And-White have two more mandates than the Likud, although this may be a somewhat pyrrhic victory considering the difficult job of actually forming the government. Even if Gantz is given a mandate by the president, he is now left with the unfavorable choices of turning to Liberman (who wants a national unity government) or the Arab parties (who do not want Liberman.) His only option will be to try and dismantle the right-wing-Chareidi bloc, but with the anti-Charedi Yair Lapid and other left-wing politicians in his party, this is just not going to happen.

Netanyahu realizes this and during the meeting yesterday with faction heads , he reportedly said “There’s no problem, let the president [Reuven Rivlin] task [Blue and White leader Benny] Gantz with forming the government, let him sweat it out. Nothing will come of it. We’ll be one bloc, he can’t do anything.”

Likud ministers reacted sharply to Gantz’s refusal to meet with Netanyahu.

“An attempt is being made to portray Blue and White as striving toward a unity government and that we are doing the reverse. The reality is precisely the opposite,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said. “They are trying to say they want unity, but ‘we reject the head of your party.’ There’s never been such a thing in history.”

Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis said at the meeting that “totalitarian parties are boycotting the prime minister; this is the greatest form of cynicism in Israeli politics.”

Likud MK David Bitan said, “Our candidate for the premiership is Netanyahu, we won’t replace him. We won’t do so because another party has vetoed him. We’ve never done so and we won’t do it now. I would advise Blue and White to get off its high horse.”

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8 COMMENTS

    • Amen. Let Gantz continue to be stubborn and sit on his high horse. I hope there’s another election and maybe this time more Israelis will realize what’s at risk and they’ll be smart enough to vote Bibi! Otherwise it’s making a deal with the devil (literally) as Gantz will be willing to give away half of Israel to the very enemies who seek her destruction G’f, because stupid leftists actually believe if we only give them enough land, that will turn them peaceful and they’ll start loving us. How does every single Israeli not see the disastrous example of Gaza and the proof positive of what the terrorists do when we give them our precious land! They use it to shoot missiles at us!

  1. Gantz just declared victory with 51%. Bibi’s time is up. He’ll say and do anything to try to stay in power (and avoid jail). His charedi allies do nothing but kvetch against the State but take handouts from the State. They contribute nothing and everybody lnows it.

  2. We orthodox American Jews who voted Trump unlike the reform can do something. Let’s organize a campaign to stop American funding of Israel unless they have new elections. You will see how Ganz will crawl on all fours to beg Orthodox Jews to talk to Trump. We in Boro park voted Trump along with other orthodox chareidi communities and we can flex our muscles.

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