Blue and White sources: Gantz will have blocking majority against PM

Gantz’s associates said he would welcome Liberman being part of a blocking majority but would not comment on the possibility of Odeh being part of it.

August 30, 2019 07:13
2 minute read.
Benny Gantz has awoken from his post-election slumber.

Benny Gantz has awoken from his post-election slumber.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz will have enough support in the September 17 election to obtain a “blocking majority” needed to prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming the next government, high ranking sources in Blue and White said this week.

The sources revealed that Gantz’s goal is to obtain a 61 MK blocking majority of parties that do not want Netanyahu to build the next coalition. The sources said that for a blocking majority, unlike a coalition, Gantz believes even sworn enemies like Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman and Joint List head Ayman Odeh could cooperate, because they both detest Netanyahu.

Gantz’s associates said he would welcome Liberman being part of a blocking majority, but would not comment on the possibility of Odeh being part of it. However, Odeh himself in interviews last weekend called for a blocking majority that his party would join.

Recent polls have predicted 29 to 31 seats for Blue and White, 10 to 12 for the Joint List, nine to 10 for Yisrael Beytenu, seven to eight for the Democratic Union, and four to six for Labor-Gesher, which would make a blocking majority possible.

Obtaining a blocking majority against Netanyahu could require President Reuven Rivlin to give Gantz the mandate to form a government. When it comes to forming a coalition, Gantz knows Liberman and Odeh are unlikely to cooperate, but sources in Blue and White said once he has the mandate, other party leaders will soften their demands.

One possibility for Gantz is that Shas or United Torah Judaism (UTJ) could enter his coalition, even if it also contains critics of haredim (ultra-Orthodox) like Liberman and Blue and White’s No. 2, Yair Lapid.

Liberman has denied any possibility of cooperating with Odeh. But being part of a blocking majority would not require them to do anything other than making the same recommendation to Rivlin that Gantz form the government.

When asked to respond to this possibility, Yisrael Beytenu officials said that it is Likud that has been cooperating lately with Arab parties, and there will be no blocking majority with Odeh. The officials could not confirm reports that Liberman told activists this week that they “must prevent Netanyahu from being prime minister.”

Liberman told Army Radio on Thursday that while he knows he cannot get everything he wants in coalition talks, his demands will include passing the haredi conscription bill, initiating civil marriage, stores opening and public transportation being available on Shabbat, and learning the core curriculum in haredi schools.

All of those demands would not be accepted by Shas or UTJ. If Yisrael Beytenu cannot coexist in a coalition with either party, the only way Gantz would be able to form a coalition is with Likud. Gantz has ruled out a coalition with Netanyahu, but has welcomed a coalition with a post-Netanyahu Likud.

In an interview with Army Radio’s Effi Triger on Thursday morning, Gantz called on Netanyahu to advance his October 2 legal hearing to before Election Day, so the voters will have all the information needed to cast their ballots. He said that could be in the interest of both Netanyahu and the public.

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