Benny Gantz reveals he has started forming government

Netanyahu: Public will take revenge against Blue and White.

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz revealed on Saturday night he is in the midst of negotiations on the formation of what he said would be a strong government that would end rifts in the nation.
Gantz said he could not reveal details because sensitivity was important to ensure the success of the talks. But it is believed he will form a minority government of his Blue and White Party, Labor-Gesher-Meretz and Yisrael Beytenu, with the outside backing of the Joint List.
The Joint List will meet Sunday in Kfar Kassem to decide whether to recommend to President Reuven Rivlin that Gantz form the government. Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman told Channel 12 he would recommend Gantz, because he was angry at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for initiating multiple criminal investigations against him and members of his family and his party.
The Likud vigorously denied the allegations and threatened to sue Channel 12 for reporting them.
Netanyahu said on Saturday night that the public will “take revenge” against those who break their campaign promises and trample democracy with retroactive legislation. He protested a bill sponsored by Blue and White, and supported by the Joint List and Yisrael Beytenu, which would prevent an indicted MK from forming a government.
He spoke in Petah Tikva in what he called an “emergency rally to stop the creation of a minority government.” Netanyahu spoke to 15 Likud branches, where crowds gathered instead of a mass rally in one site due to the coronavirus.
Netanyahu revealed that Otzma Yehudit offered to quit last Monday’s election in return for allowing Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount but he said no, because it would “set the Middle East on fire.”
Gantz responded that the public had rejected Netanyahu in all three elections.
“In all three rounds, the public showed him the door,” Gantz said.
Gantz accused Netanyahu on Friday of what he termed dangerous incitement against him. Gantz recalled the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, when Netanyahu was the leader of the opposition. Netanyahu was accused of incitement ahead of that murder.
“Bibi we saw what happened when the incitement was out of control and no one stopped it in 1995,” Gantz wrote on Twitter. “If you think that your threats will stop us, you are making a bad mistake. You are only showing how important it is to replace you.”
Gantz warned “If we don’t wake up, the next political assassination is around the corner.”
Blue and White MK Moshe Ya’alon said it was wrong of Netanyahu to question the results of Monday’s election and call upon the public to protest them.
“You are calling on millions to go out to the streets and not accept the results of the election?” Ya’alon said. “This is mutiny!”
Gantz and Ya’alon were responding to Netanyahu’s announcement of Saturday’s emergency rally and the Likud announcing on Friday morning it would petition the Supreme Court to force the Central Elections Committee to provide all of the protocols of the voting in Monday’s election.
The Likud complained that the Central Elections Committee was taking too long in providing the information. The members of the committee responded by condemning the Likud and saying it already received 90% of the information it requested and would receive the rest on Saturday night.
“The representatives of all the parties on the committee, including Likud, reject any statement hinting at politics on the part of the committee’s chairman, Supreme Court Judge Neal Hendel,” the committee said. “Judge Hendel and the leadership of the committee and its workers worked hard and honestly to ensure that the election would be democratic and fair. Anonymous lying hints, questioning the integrity of the head of the committee, are unacceptable and harm the public’s trust.”
In Gantz’s message on Twitter, he vowed to form a government that will serve all sectors of the population. In a sign that it could be a minority government backed by the Joint List, Gantz mentioned Arab-Israeli citizens. Responding to the Likud’s claims of victory, Gantz pointed out that Blue and White’s vote count went up from the September to March elections, as it rose from the April election to the September one.
"The people have spoken over three election rounds that have ended in a clear majority for parties that do not support Netanyahu's continued reign in government," Gantz said. "Time after time the Israeli people have determined: The Netanyahu era is over."
Gantz said that he intends "to assemble a government that will redefine the internal relations between us, restore sanity and expunge the hatred that one man has sewn over years."
"I have been glad to see a sense of national responsibility on the part of our potential partners and am optimistic with regard to my chances of assembling a government," Gantz concluded.