Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party on Monday renewed its public efforts to persuade Blue and White Benny Gantz to leave the government and form an alternative coalition with right-wing parties.
“If Benny Gantz wants to be prime minister, he can be prime minister – now,” Likud MK Miki Zohar told the Knesset channel in a Monday interview, referring to an offer for the defense minister to become prime minister. of a rotation agreement. that would see Netanyahu back in power in two years time.
Zohar later tweeted at Gantz: “Join us to form a national government without leftists and without representatives of the Islamic Movement and save the people of Israel from this evil government.”
Gantz, who had previously been a member of a Likud government, did not respond immediately.
When asked about the offer at the Yesh Atid faction meeting in the Knesset, Foreign Minister and Alternative Prime Minister Yair Lapid made the suggestion that the Likud would succeed in seducing Gantz.
“Benny is far too intelligent to believe Benjamin Netanyahu again this time after he so blatantly cheated on him – so I do not think there is a good chance he will go,” Lapid said.
Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White voted in April 2020 to form a coalition, following three consecutive unexplained elections. But just over six months after it was formed, the government was dissolved when the parties could not agree on passing a budget for 2020, and a new election was called for March 2021. The move became general seen as designed by Netanyahu to prevent the premiership from being transferred to Gantz in November 2021, as stipulated in the coalition agreement between them.
In a desperate last-minute bid to block the new government’s oath last month, Likud officials presented Gantz with a plan that would allow Netanyahu to step down immediately and allow the Blue and White chief to serve three years as prime minister, Channel 12 reported. at the time.
The proposal, rejected by Gantz’s camp, would have reportedly seen Netanyahu serve as an alternative prime minister at the time.
The reported offer was one of several that came to Gantz through a number of channels in the days before the new government was sworn in.
Yamina chief Naftali Bennett ousted Netanyahu from the prime minister last month after agreeing to Lapid and a wide range of parties targeting Netanyahu, ranging from deaf Meretz to pro-annexation New Hope and the Islamic party Ra’am. Under the agreement, Bennett will serve two years as prime minister before handing over the office to Lapid for the remainder of the term.