Gantz: We won't get to form the government of our dreams

Lapid calls compromise plan "a fraud"

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz at a faction meeting in the Knesset (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz at a faction meeting in the Knesset
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz reiterated that he will insist on going first in a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deals with his criminal cases, he told a meeting of his faction at the Knesset on Monday.
Asked why he should serve first as prime minister, Gantz said that Blue and White received more votes than Likud.
“Unlike others, I do not want the citizens of Israel to be put through a costly, divisive and unnecessary election,” Gantz said. “In politics, one cannot achieve 100%. Politics involves the art of compromise, and compromise is the proper course of action when it serves to achieve goals. I understand that part of compromising means that we will not be able to form our dream government. That said, I am not prepared to form the government of our nightmares.”
Gantz said there will be compromises but not what he called “a compromise that is just a show.” He promised that a role could be found for Netanyahu with the correct status for his “unique situation,” which he said would allow him to return to politics should his name be cleared.
Rejecting a report in Monday’s Israel Hayom newspaper that Netanyahu wanted to remain prime minister for five months in order to annex the Jordan Valley, Gantz said the fate of the valley should not be connected to the political make-up of the government.
After Blue and White rejected Likud bringing its bloc into a unity government, Gantz said that his party “has no problem with the traditional and the haredim [ultra-Orthodox].”
Gantz’s No. 2, Yair Lapid, rejected the plan for Netanyahu to serve as prime minister for five months, followed by Gantz for two years and then whomever will be head of Likud completing the term.
“It’s not an offer, it’s a fraud,” Lapid told the faction. “Those who voted for Blue and White didn’t do it so that we’d offer a political lifeline to someone indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The only reason we don’t have a unity government is because Netanyahu doesn’t want a unity government. He wants an election.”
Lapid said Netanyahu and his people were disseminating the lie that he vetoed a unity government.
“Their aim is to cause division between us, to have us argue here at home,” Lapid said. “It won’t work. We’re a team. No one is buying their lies. The only reason we don’t have a unity government is Benjamin Netanyahu.”
According to the compromise plan being considered, Blue and White MKs Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon would wait to become ministers only when Netanyahu leaves office and Gantz takes over as prime minister. Labor-Gesher leader Amir Peretz told his faction that he told Gantz that his party would be willing to do the same.
Channel 13 reported that Blue and White and Likud already reached an agreement on portfolios and bills that would ensure Netanyahu leaves office, and their main argument remains whether Netanyahu stays prime minister for three, five or six months.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman told his faction that “Likud and Blue and White are doing everything possible to bury prospects for a unity government.”
The Central Elections Committee accepted a request from Blue and White that if a government is not formed, it would expedite the next election to February 25, a month earlier than the date set by the law. To expedite the race, the Knesset would have to change the current law, which automatically sets an election for the last Tuesday within 90 days after the Knesset is dispersed.
According to the current law, if Netanyahu or Gantz submit 61 signatures by the last day to form a government and President Reuven Rivlin grants a two-week mandate two days later, the MK will have until December 27 to form a government. If the MK fails, an election would be held on the last Tuesday within 90 days after that, which would be March 24.