Yair Lapid, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Benny Gantz.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST+EMIL SALMAN/POLL+ANDREAS GEBERT/REUTERS)
The Jerusalem Post’s report about the Blue and White Party’s leaders intention to invite the Likud to join a “Zionist national unity government” if President Reuven Rivlin entrusts them with forming a coalition caused a political storm on Monday.
The report said that Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid had told confidants prior to his merger with former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party that he was counting on building a government with Likud under him. His theory was that once Netanyahu loses the election, those running to succeed him would want to get experience in senior portfolios.
On Monday morning, KAN revealed a recording of a closed-door event of Lapid in Karmiel on Sunday in which he confirmed the Post
“We will turn to the Likud that is after Netanyahu,” Lapid said, “We will turn to Likud to form a national unity government that will reflect the values of unity, that will be wide and will be able to accomplish many things. The call to Likud will be the first call. Netanyahu will not stay if he loses. The Likud is an important Zionist party with important people.”
The Likud responded by saying that "Lapid and Gantz will only form a government with the support of Arab parties, because they have no other choice.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party said that rather than Likud, “Lapid will first call the head of Meretz, Tamar Zandberg, who said that she is willing to give up the Golan Heights."
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) said Lapid’s tape was evidence that “Lapid and Gantz plan on serving as ministers in a government lead by Netanyahu, not to replace him.”
Labor leader Avi Gabbay warned that “any vote for Gantz is a vote for Netanyahu and only a vote for Labor is a vote for a political upheaval.”
Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg warned at an event for senior citizens sponsored by Migdalei Hayam Hatichon that “Gantz and Lapid will form a right-wing government.”
The Likud has traditionally made a point of not joining a coalition led by other parties, but it did join a national-unity government in 1984 with a rotation as prime minister. The Likud’s forerunner Herut joined the government ahead of the Six Day War in 1967 and stayed until 1970.
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