Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit refused to determine what the status will be for the Blue and White Party and Benny Gantz, should they fail to pass the electoral threshold in the Knesset election on March 23.
Gantz not only is currently defense and justice minister, but also could conceivably become prime minister on November 17 if no new coalition is formed. Gantz also controls many other ministries, and can effectively veto most policy decisions.
This has meant that until now Netanyahu could not fire Gantz or any Blue and White ministers, though the prime minister usually has the ability to fire anyone whenever the Knesset dissolves.
The powers for Gantz and Blue and White were passed into law by the party, the Likud, and the coalition as a full-fledged basic law with quasi-constitutional status, as part of the negotiations to form the government in May.
Gantz had hoped Mandelblit would clarify whether he and Blue and White would keep his powers and ministries in an indefinite transitional role until a new governing coalition would be formed, even if he and his party do not make it into the Knesset.
The attorney-general refused to answer on Thursday, saying the issue was too theoretical and that he would not take a position unless it came to pass.
Furthermore, Mandelblit said that any position he took only weeks before Election Day could be misconstrued as helping one party or another.
Despite the attorney-general’s restraint on the issue, and that there is no black and white answer to the dilemma, the view of most legal scholars to date is that Gantz and Blue and White would retain their special powers until a new governing coalition would be sworn in, even if they miss the threshold, because there would be no authority in Israel empowered to fire them until the current basic law is repealed.