Leftist Benny Gantz failed to form a coalition within the required Knesset deadline, and has given the mandate back to president Reuven Rivlin. But what's really fascinating is that now, he's blaming some notable parts of his own party for the failure
, as much as he is prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Gantz was even willing to form a minority government propped up by the Islamic party:
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has reportedly accused the right-wing flank of his party of thwarting a bid to form a minority government bolstered by the predominantly Arab Joint List, and said his partnership with Yair Lapid reduced the chances of a unity government with Likud.
“Because of Yoaz [Hendel] and Tzvika [Hauser], I am not prime minister, and because of Lapid, the chances of unity dropped,” Gantz was quoted by Channel 12 as telling associates on Wednesday on two occasions.
Gantz on Wednesday night informed President Reuven Rivlin he had failed to form a governing coalition, paving the way to a likely third round of elections in under a year. The centrist leader conceded defeat in a phone call with the president after unity talks with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu broke down.
Liberman hasn't proven any better so far, and if anybody's still willing to vote for him after all the trouble he's caused, they'll be perpetuating a bad situation at a time when the Hamas and Islamic Jihad are proving a local threat.
The Blue and White leader had openly sought a unity government with Likud. Reports indicated Gantz’s party had also explored the possibility of a minority government propped up by outside support from the Joint List of Arab-led parties.
But according to Channel 12, Blue and White MKs Hendel, a former Netanyahu aide, and Hauser, a former cabinet secretary who also served under the Likud leader, reportedly warned they would oppose such an arrangement.
The report also said the hawkish Liberman was not willing to join such a coalition due to his acrimony toward the Arab lawmakers, but would have abstained in no-confidence votes, effectively keeping it afloat. But Hauser and Hendel’s votes were needed to have an edge over Netanyahu’s 55-MK bloc of right-wing and religious political allies.
Gantz was also quoted as attributing the failure to his collaboration with Lapid, without elaborating.
Basically, an impossible alliance. It'll remain to be seen if and how much longer they continue together, because they don't work well together at all, and nobody should delude themselves into thinking this is a great party formation. Why, who knows if Gantz even wanted to form a government for real?
With Gantz’s declaration of failure, the country’s year-long spiraling political chaos entered uncharted territory, formally laid out in law but never before exercised: Israeli lawmakers now have 21 days during which any 61 Knesset members can back any MK as prime minister, including Netanyahu or Gantz. If that doesn’t occur, Israel will go to unprecedented third elections in under a year, likely in mid-March.
I do hope it doesn't have to happen. But if it does, it's also because of all the infighting on the right, which Naftali Bennett for one, led to. Now that they may have joined up with the Likud, it's to be hoped he's repenting and neither he nor Ayelet Shaked will ever try those offensive tricks of theirs ever again. We'll see how things turn out in the next month.