T. Belman. Gantz’s mandate expires in a week. Then Netanyahu gets the mandate to form the government.
Gantz informed the public on Friday that “essential and critical issues remain to be decided in coalition talks.”
By Gil H offman, JPOST APRIL 4, 2020 23:34
BENNY GANTZ : His government would only have to last until Netanyahu is indicted (photo credit: REUTERS)
Blue and White and Likud negotiating teams met late Saturday night in an effort to finalize a coalition agreement that could be brought to a vote in party institutions on Sunday and the Knesset on Monday, before the parliament adjourns to its summer recess.
But sources in both parties said over the weekend that even if that would happen, Israel still would have no government before Passover, because legislation must be passed to facilitate the government’s formation that will be challenged in the High Court of Justice.
One such bill would enable the swearing-in of two prime ministers, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu serving the first year and a half of the term and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz the next year and a half.
Netanyahu and Gantz met at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem on Friday. They met outdoors and maintained distance of six meters to respect Health Ministry guidelines. Netanyahu is self-quarantining, due to his contact with Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, who was diagnosed with the virus.
The conversation advanced the interests of both Likud and Blue and White, according to a joint statement issued by the parties. They both instructed their individual negotiation teams to try and bring about agreements that would allow for a coalition agreement to be reached.
One key issue that remains undecided is how to advance US President Donald Trump’s peace plan. Likud has been willing to delay plans to express sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and communities in Judea and Samaria for four months. Blue and White has demanded longer.
Gantz informed the public on Friday that “essential and critical issues remain to be decided in coalition talks.” In a post on Facebook, Gantz said that most issues had already been finalized, including guarantees that the rule of law would be enforced despite Netanyahu’s criminal indictments.
“Most things have already been finalized, and I can guarantee you that there will be no one in the state who will not feel the change after we enter the government,” Gantz said on Facebook.
Gantz said that “everybody understands that only a national unity government will save Israel and get it out of the financial hardships waiting around the corner once we defeat the coronavirus.”
Netanyahu also spoke on Friday with Yamina leader Naftali Bennett. After Yamina issued a fierce statement on Thursday vowing to fight corruption from the opposition, Netanyahu told Bennett that he wanted Yamina in his government. Bennett said his party would decide whether to join based on the coalition’s guidelines on key polices.
Labor leader Amir Peretz told Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz on Saturday night that he had formally asked the Knesset Arrangements Committee to end the bond between Labor and Meretz and split into two separate factions.
In the March 2 election, the two parties and the Gesher party of MK Orly Lev-Abecassis ran together as Labor-Gesher-Meretz and won a disappointing seven seats. When the split is approved, Labor will be a faction of three seats, Meretz three and Gesher one.
Labor MK Merav Michaeli said she would protest if Peretz and Labor MK Itzik Shmuli joined the government, but she said she would not leave Labor.
Tamar Beeri contributed to this report.<