Gantz and Lapid attempt to create a bloc that could overthrow Netanyahu

Labor recruits a general for its list.

February 20, 2019 16:05
2 minute read.
Yair Lapid (L) and Benny Gantz (R)

Yair Lapid (L) and Benny Gantz (R). (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Israel Resilience Party head Benny Gantz met on Wednesday in Savyon, to discuss a platform for the two parties, which would include a rotation as prime minister if they would win the election. The platform would also likely include matters of religion and state and whether or not they would join a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

The meeting was considered a last ditch attempt to create a bloc of multiple parties that polls showed could pose a serious threat to the prime minister by Thursday night’s deadline for lists to be submitted to the Central Elections Committee.

“I can’t provide anything concrete of course but just like Benny [Gantz] promised he is fully committed  to making this happen,” a source close to Gantz said.

A Walla poll aired in the afternoon found that if Lapid and Gantz run together the joint list will win 34 seats and Netanyahu’s Likud party win 33 seats. Yet if they run separately Likud will win 31 seats, Gantz 19 seats and Yesh Atid 13 seats.

Benny Gantz and his number two, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, unveiled their joint Israel-Resilience-Telem list Thursday at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. But it was not attended by potential partners like Lapid, Gesher head Orly Levy-Abecassis or Haredi Womens College founder Adina Bar-Shalom.

Talks between Gantz and Levy restarted after the event and continued late into the night, without a resolution.

Bar-Shalom told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday night that she was currently not speaking to any media outlets. Her party has threatened to run alone is no mergers are made.

Gantz ended his address at his party’s event by inviting Lapid to meet with him Tuesday night and “not miss a historic opportunity” for a political upheaval.

Lapid responded: “As I said yesterday on the stage, we will leave no stone unturned, we will do everything to ensure we don’t miss a historic opportunity to replace the government.”

Gantz and Ya’alon are followed on their list by Histadrut Labor Federation chairman Avi Nissenkorn, former anchorwoman Miki Haimovich, former Netanyahu spokesman Yoaz Hendel, former Yeruham mayor Michael Biton, social activist Chili Tropper and former cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser.

The list includes a haredi candidate in Omer Yankelevich, a Druze woman in Gadeer Mreeh, an Ethiopian candidate in Gadi Yevarkan and a gay candidate in former Ra’anana mayor Eitan Ginzburg.

The Anglo candidates are Tropper, whose parents are from New York, North Carolina-born professor Alon Tal, who is 25th on the list, and Canadian-Israeli attorney Michal Cotler-Wunsh, who is 28th.

Meanwhile, Labor leader Avi Gabbay strengthened his Knesset slate by giving the second slot on his list to Gen. (res.) Tal Russo.

Russo served as OC Southern Command and head of the IDF Operations Directorate. He enlisted in the IDF in 1978 and served in the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal) and as a commander of the Nahal Brigade.

Before enlisting, Gabbay negotiated with several generals who turned down a chance to run with his party, including Noam Tibon. He also was rejected by Beersheba mayor Rubik Danilovich.

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