Blue and White in push to get Rivlin's backing

But Gantz and Peretz issued a joint statement about continuing their partnership.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and Labor chairman Amir Peretz meeting on March 11, 2020 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and Labor chairman Amir Peretz meeting on March 11, 2020
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz intends to spend the next few days doing everything possible to obtain President Reuven Rivlin's mandate to form the next government, sources in the party said on Wednesday.
To that end, Gantz met with Labor chairman Amir Peretz and advised him about how to handle rebel MK Orly Levy-Abecassis and Blue and White MKs met with representatives of the Joint List. If Levy-Abecassis, all 15 Joint List MKs and Blue and White rebels Tzvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel all recommend Gantz to Rivlin, he would have 62 MKs, four more than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and he would most likely get the mandate.
Speculation had been raised that Peretz could join a government led by Netanyahu after Levy-Abecassis, left the Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance to protest negotiations with the Joint List of Arab parties. But Gantz and Peretz issued a joint statement after their meeting about continuing their partnership.
In his first public statement since Levy-Abecassis announced her decision, Peretz said "decisive times cause difficulties in all parties, but I am doing everything necessary to overcome them and give Israeli citizens the government we promised them before the election."
Ahead of the election, Peretz promised a minority government led by Blue and White. Levy-Abecassis did not disagree at the time.
Peretz spoke to Levy-Abecassis at midnight and the conversation was reportedly stormy. He expressed outrage that he learned of her decision from getting an update on his phone from a news channel about her tweet.
But Peretz's associates said he was not burning bridges with Levy-Abecassis at this stage, because he still hopes that she will recommend to President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday that Gantz form the next government.
Labor and Meretz MKs have called upon Levy-Abecassis to quit the Knesset and enable the next candidate on the list to enter instead. Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz accused her of "spitting in the face of her voters."
But another Labor-Merez MK said it was wrong to criticize Levy-Abecassis when her support is needed. "I understand that escalating it would be gratifying emotionally but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do," the MK said.
Meanwhile, Blue and White and Joint List MKs met at the Knesset on Wednesday. Joint List faction chairman Ahmad Tibi said it was important for Joint List MKs to be heard and to hear what Blue and White would do to help their sector.
Blue and White MKs Avi Nissenkorn and Ofer Shelah tried to persuade the Joint List to have all 15 of its MKs endorse Gantz to Rivlin. Tibi said the institutions of the Joint List would meet to consider what they heard from Blue and White.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman covened his faction on Wednesday and told told the press that while his party "does nor rule out any party or person on principle," he wanted the coalition to be "Zionist and liberal."
"Our view has not changed, but we don’t need to supply intelligence or calming pills to Netanyahu," Liberman said.