Netanyahu warns of ‘dangerous’ Gantz government with Joint List

Gantz: Netanyahu won’t internalize that the people voted for change.

Benny Gantz speaking in Naharayim  (photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Benny Gantz speaking in Naharayim
(photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
With only four days until his deadline to build a coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doubled down on the claim that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz will establish a minority government relying on the Joint List.
“Gantz refuses unity,” Netanyahu said in a Facebook post on Friday. “How can Israel act against Iran and Hezbollah when MKs who... support Hezbollah can bring down the government?
Establishing a minority government leaning on the Joint List is an anti-Zionist move that endangers our security.”
Netanyahu pointed out that Joint List MK Ahmed Tibi was an adviser to PLO leader Yasser Arafat, and quoted a speech he gave praising “the martyrs... those that the occupier wants to call terrorists, while we say there is nothing greater.”
Joint List leader Ayman Odeh, the prime minister said, refuses to condemn attacks on IDF soldiers, and under his leadership, the Hadash party within the Joint List condemned the Arab League for declaring Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization.
“Gantz, do not take part in establishing a government that is dangerous for Israel,” Netanyahu added. “The citizens of Israel expect us to establish a broad national unity government that will protect Israel and ensure our future.”
Netanyahu said Gantz, Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman refuse to commit to not establishing a government in that vein.
This theory would have Gantz form a coalition with fewer than 61 MKs, but the Joint List and possibly Yisrael Beytenu would support it from the outside, mostly by abstaining instead of voting against their proposals.
The possible forms a minority government could take would be Blue and White, Labor and Meretz equaling 44 seats, or Blue and White, Yisrael Beytenu and Labor with 47 seats.
The prime minister’s remarks came after Gantz said Netanyahu refuses to do what it takes to form a unity government. Netanyahu’s offers, including a plan on handling matters of religion and state and other policy points that he presented on Thursday, have not been to form a partnership but to make Blue and White a junior partner in a right-wing government, Gantz said.
“At best, this is spin, and at worst, it represents leadership that is not able to internalize the will of the people in the past election for change,” Gantz stated.
“We find ourselves in a country held hostage with no functioning institutions.” Gantz called on Netanyahu to return his mandate to form a government early.
Liberman responded to Netanyahu’s accusations by pointing out that the prime minister was responsible for the handover of Hebron to Palestinian control, voted for the Gaza disengagement, sends money to Hamas, and cooperated with the Joint List in having them dissolve the 21st Knesset when he was unable to form a government, among other past actions.
“This is a partial list, and I suggest that before the prime minister blame his failure to form a government [on others], he look very closely in the mirror and engage in some introspection,” Liberman wrote on Facebook.
Odeh called Netanyahu’s Facebook post incitement. “The Right prefers a Jewish criminal in [the Prime Minister’s Residence] over Arab citizens who were democratically elected,” Odeh wrote on Twitter. “Benjamin Netanyahu is the lowest point in Israeli society, into which racism, corruption and hatred that hurt all citizens of the state are drained.”