Gantz not ruling out Arab-backed minority government

Netanyahu: Gantz’s lie has been revealed.

MK Ayman Odeh, the leader of Hadash-Ta'al Party, and Benny gantz, head of the Blue and White Party. (photo credit: REUTERS)
MK Ayman Odeh, the leader of Hadash-Ta'al Party, and Benny gantz, head of the Blue and White Party.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz refused to rule out forming a minority government backed from outside the coalition by the Joint List, on a visit to Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba on Wednesday, despite pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Gantz spoke a day after he said, on a tour of Arab towns in the North, that the Joint List could not be part of his government but did not address the possibility of obtaining the Joint List’s support from outside the government.
“We will form the government,” Gantz said. “Whoever wants to support can support it. Whoever wants to oppose it can oppose it. That is the way it works in a democracy.”
Gantz expressed hope that Blue and White and its allies would be able to obtain 61 MKs to form a government.
“We do not need help from the outside,” he said.
Netanyahu attacked Gantz in an Army Radio interview, accusing him of coordinating politically with the Joint List and trying to trick the public.
“The lie has been revealed,” Netanyahu said. “Gantz is admitting that he will rely on support from the Joint List in order to form a government.”
Following the September elections, there was strong speculation that such a framework was being considered, whereby a minority government led by Blue and White could survive votes of no confidence and even pass legislation with support from the Arab parties, without them formally being in the coalition.
During his visit to Beersheba, Gantz was asked about the meeting held by former prime minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who have both publicly opposed and denounced the Trump peace plan.
Gantz said that the Trump proposals were “a good starting point from which to move forward,” and called on the Palestinians to “make a historic decision to join in this peace initiative.”
In the Army Radio interview, Netanyahu denied reports on Monday that Likud MK Nir Barkat will be appointed finance minister before the March 2 election. He said MK Moshe Kahlon, who is not running for reelection, will remain finance minister until then.
But Channel 12 revealed on Wednesday that polls were taken for Netanyahu on Tuesday to still consider the possibility.
Netanyahu warned voters not to vote for the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party, saying that all those votes would be thrown in the trash. He denied reports that he offered Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir incentives to quit the race.
“I offered Ben-Gvir nothing,” he said. “With these votes we [Likud] could win and form a right-wing government.”
Hagay Hacohen contributed to this report.