Report: Progress Made in Coalition Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -
Gabi Ashkenazi, Former Chief of General Staff of the IDF. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Negotiating teams for the Likud and Blue and White parties reported progress toward a unity government on Wednesday, though they said no formal agreements had been reached.

The reports of progress in coalition talks contrasted sharply with acrimonious debates over the leadership of the Knesset which led to a shutdown of the plenum on Wednesday.

Benny Gantz’s Blue and White was reportedly demanding several top-tier ministerial posts, including Defense, Foreign, Justice, Public Security and Culture Ministries, according to Kan. It was not immediately clear why Finance was omitted from the list.

Likud reportedly indicated a willingness to accept MK Gabi Ashkenazi, a former IDF chief, as defense minister under such an agreement.

The two sides were said to have set Monday as a tentative deadline for reaching agreements, according to The Jerusalem Post. That’s the same day the Knesset is scheduled to reconvene and decide who will be the next Knesset speaker and who will sit on the key committees.

Meanwhile, Gantz’s prospects of forming a minority center-left government were eroding.

MK Omer Yankelevitch, of Blue and White, told Gantz that she opposes such a government if it would depend on support from the Joint Arab List. She thus joins fellow MKs Tzvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel.

However, party officials told Channel 12 that unlike Hauser and Hendel, they expect Yankelevitch will in the end vote with them despite her personal reservations.