Gantz threatens to pass bill that would end Netanyahu’s career

Poll finds Bennett could form government without Likud, haredi parties, Arabs

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Blue and White raised its threat against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the weekend, warning that if he does not enable the passage of the 2021 state budget by the end of the year, it would propose the so-called anti-Bibi bill.
The bill would prevent anyone charged with serious crimes from forming a government, including Netanyahu, who is on trial for fraud, bribery and breach of trust. The bill was first presented in August but was defeated, as it did not have Blue and White’s support.
But if Blue and White now votes for the bill, it could gain a majority of 61 MKs that would include Blue and White, Yesh Atid, the Joint List, Yisrael Beytenu, Meretz and Labor. A minority of 59 MKs from Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism, Yamina, Gesher and Bayit Yehudi would oppose it.
A Yamina spokesman said the party opposed the bill, because it did not believe it was proper to allow the attorney-general, who is not an elected official, to determine who will become prime minister.
In an interview on Channel 12’s Meet the Press program on Saturday night, Gantz hinted that he could support the legislation but sources close to him said he nevertheless preferred passing the state budget, and maintaining the current government and enabling it to work more smoothly.
“All options are open, but we want a functioning government, because that is good for the state,” Blue and White faction chairman Eitan Ginzburg said.
Blue and White will, however, support the government in a special Knesset plenum session with Netanyahu on Monday that was called by 40 opposition MKs.
Drama is also expected in the Knesset this week when Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich presents a bill that would enable the legislature to probe conflicts of interest among judges. Likud has spoken in favor of the bill, but in the past, Blue and White has walked out of the coalition if Likud enables the legislation to pass.
Smotrich challenged Likud, Shas and UTJ to support his bill and “take action beyond their empty words.”
Meanwhile, a Channel 13 survey taken by pollster Camil Fuchs found, for the first time, that Yamina leader Naftali Bennett could form a government without Netanyahu and his Likud Party, the Joint List, Shas, UTJ or Meretz.
The poll of 1,102 respondents representing a statistical sample of the Israeli adult population predicted 27 seats for Likud, 24 for Yamina, 21 for Yesh Atid, 11 for the Joint List, eight each for Yisrael Beytenu, Shas and Blue and White, seven for UTJ and six for Meretz.
The 61 seats of Yamina, Yesh Atid, Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu would enable the formation of a coalition without any of the parties that Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman has vetoed recently: Shas, UTJ, the Joint List and Likud under Netanyahu.
Likud’s lead over Yamina was wider in a poll broadcast on Channel 12: Likud would win the same 27 seats but Yamina would win two less at 22.