Netanyahu calls again for emergency unity gov’t with Blue and White

Blue and White says party has not heard any offer or proposal from the Likud to begin forming such a government.

Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Benny Gantz (R) (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Benny Gantz (R)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called again on Saturday night for an emergency national unity government to be established immediately in order to deal with the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a television address, the prime minister said a permanent government, not the interim government that has run the country for more than a year, is needed in order to deal with the crisis, and said a 4th election is unthinkable.
“We need to invest a lot of money and [create] special budgets for the coronavirus. It is hard to do this with an interim government,” he said.
“I called yesterday for an emergency national government because we need it. I turn to my colleagues [Blue and White leader] Benny Gantz, [Labor leader] Amir Peretz and [Yisrael Beytenu leader] Avigdor Liberman, to join it. Authority and responsibility can be divided up. I am calling on them with full openness and responsibility, this isn’t spin or political gimmicks. We are in world crisis.”
Blue and White did not immediately respond to Netanyahu’s comments.
Earlier on Saturday night, a party source told The Jerusalem Post that the Likud has not been in touch with Blue and White to begin formulating such a government and had made no proposals for what it might look like.
The last time Netanyahu spoke with Gantz was Friday morning, the source added.
Liberman proposed Saturday night that Likud and Blue and White form an emergency government to deal only with the coronavirus issue, and said that his party would give full support to such a government without formally being part of it.
The Likud was greatly angered by a Blue and White request on Friday for Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to add to the Knesset agenda a vote to replace him.
Replacing the Knesset speaker requires a special majority vote of 61 MKs in favor.
“Blue and White’s letter is shameful,” the Likud said, pointing out that it came while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conducted an emergency meeting on the coronavirus crisis.
But the Likud still called on Gantz to lead his party into the government immediately.
“Less than 24 hours since Prime Minister Netanyahu called for forming a national emergency government to deal with the coronavirus crisis and in Blue and White, they still don’t understand the significance of the crisis, and they still are continuing with petty politics,” the Likud said. “They get an F in leadership and good judgment.”
A Blue and White Party spokesman declined to say whether the party would pull the vote for a new speaker on Monday given the escalating nature of the health crisis.