Benny Gantz, Netanyahu readying compromises on unity
Netanyahu already compromised by dropping his insistence on serving as prime minister the first two years in a unity government to one.
By GIL HOFFMANPublished: DECEMBER 2, 2019 10:52Advertisement
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz is prepared to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in making compromises ahead of the December 11 deadline to form a government and prevent a third election in under a year, sources close to Gantz said on Sunday.Netanyahu already compromised by dropping his insistence on serving as prime minister the first two years in a unity government to one year, and then relaying to Gantz that he would settle for “less than six months without tricks and shticks.”Sources close to Gantz said he was willing to accept the offer and stand up to Blue and White’s second and third candidates, MKs Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon, who warned him that it is a trap. The sources said Gantz will tell them that they can sit out of the government while Netanyahu is prime minister and then join for his two years at the helm.“This can work without breaking up Blue and White,” a source close to Gantz said.The head of the Likud’s negotiating team, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, told reporters outside Sunday’s cabinet meeting that “the responsibility lies with Gantz, who needs to stop working for Lapid and being afraid of him.”Members of the official negotiating teams of Likud and Blue and White reported making no progress, even after meeting for nearly three hours at the Knesset on Sunday afternoon.The two parties met together with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein for an hour and then went to a side room without the mediator to continue their meeting. Members of both teams left repeatedly during the meeting and mocked what was going on inside.“The amount of time a meeting lasts is not necessarily a barometer of its success,” a member of the Blue and White team told The Jerusalem Post after the meeting.Asked whether there was new hope that the third election could be avoided, a member of the Likud team answered no.But another negotiator said they at least agreed to meet again soon and continue their talks.The two sides discussed a proposal for Netanyahu to remain prime minister for a few months, followed by Gantz for two years and then whomever will be Likud’s leader finishing up the term.On the way into the meeting, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, a member of the Likud’s negotiating team, told reporters that Netanyahu had instructed him to be “flexible and creative” in the meeting.
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