In a media blitz Saturday night, Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz said that he will form a government with “a Jewish majority” after the elections, or a unity government with the Likud party if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resigns.
Gantz conducted three interviews with the major TV News shows – Channel 12, Channel 13 and KAN News – and discussed the major issues of the election, including the seemingly unending political deadlock in which neither the Likud or Blue and White-led blocs can muster a majority of 61 MKs to form a government.
“We will form a government with a Jewish majority, or we will establish a unity government with the Likud without Netanyahu,” Gantz said on Channel 13.
“We will be the biggest party and I believe we will not need the support of the Joint List. You will see that we will be the biggest party with a significant gap, and parties will join us.”
Gantz also repeated his vow not sit in a government with Arab parties.
Gantz’s comments about a Jewish majority may refer to the possibility that if the Blue and White-led bloc, without the Joint List of Arab parties, gets more seats than the Likud-led bloc, it could form a minority government if the Arab parties abstain in the vote to form the government.
Netanyahu has assailed Gantz with accusations that he will form a government with the support of the Joint List from outside of the coalition, a charge designed to delegitimize any such government due to the anti-Zionist ideology of the Arab parties.
A government with “a Jewish majority,” as Gantz put it, would take the sting out of such accusations. However, most polls do not give Blue and White, Meretz-Labor-Gesher and Yisrael Beytenu more seats than Likud, Yamina, United Torah Judaism and Shas, so the likelihood of this outcome does not seem great at present.
And chairman of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh, was strongly critical of Gantz’s position, tweeting following his interviews that “There is one thing that needs to leave politics quicker than Netanyahu, and that is the racist phrase “Jewish majority.”
Odeh continued, “If there won’t be a majority of citizens, there won’t be a majority,” a veiled threat to vote against a minority government.
Netanyahu accused Gantz of lying about not needing the support of the Arab parties, saying that he would not have a majority without them.
“Anyone thinking of voting Blue and White needs to know that he is voting for a government which will be dependent on the Joint List. Only a vote for Likud will bring about a strong, right-wing government, and stop a dangerous government [from being formed], preventing a fourth round of elections.”
Earlier on Saturday, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said he was “relying on” Netanyahu resigning in the near future so that a government can finally be formed and the country can avoid a further election.
Speaking at a Shabbat culture event in Shoham on Saturday, Liberman said that the entire right-wing bloc was preparing for Netanyahu’s departure and that the prime minister’s efforts to cling on to his position were only damaging his political legacy.
“He is working very hard, and every day that he continues he only detracts from his legacy, and from his achievements. He’s not adding anything. He’s just diminishing,” said Liberman.
“It looks like he is living in denial. The best soccer player needs to know when to hang up his boots and apparently, so do politicians,” he continued.
“I am relying on Netanyahu to do the right thing and resign. And when he does resign, we will all help him do so with honor… From what I see, everyone, especially in the [right-wing] bloc, is preparing for the post-Netanyahu era.”