Proposed Gantz-Yaalon-Lapid ‘Merger’ Hits a Snag

Israel Russia
Former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. (Flash90)

Polls over the weekend showed that there was electoral strength in a joint party that would include Moshe Yaalon, Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, with a combination of the three in a single list getting over 30 Knesset seats – but it appears that at least two of those three potential partners may have trouble working together. According to media reports, Gantz and Yaalon met last week – and agreed to disagree about a joint list.

The background to the disagreement is the demand by Yaalon that under no circumstances will the party that he is a member of join a government led by Binyamin Netanyahu – a condition Gantz refused to agree to, as it appears that, at least under current conditions, Netanyahu is set to coast to an easy victory in the April elections.

Sources told Hadashot News that the two also disagreed about the establishment of a future Palestinian state – with Gantz refusing to rule out the possibility, while Yaalon is dead-set against it. The sources said that they expected the two to work out their differences. Yaalon also met with Lapid last week, Channel Ten reported Motzoei Shabbos, with similar results. The two spoke for an hour and a half, with the report saying that there had been no substantial progress between the two.

A separate report said that Yaalon has turned down an offer to join Labor. Hadashot News said that the former IDF Chief of Staff met with Avi Gabbay last week, with the Labor head offering Yaalon a high spot on the the list – and with Yaalon refusing.

Last week, after announcing the establishment of his Telem party, Yaalon said that he saw an opportunity to work with Gantz. “Our greatest strategic threat is not Iran, Hezbollah or Islamic State, but our internal disagreements. We can find ways to work together, for the left and right parties who believe in Zionism to collaborate,” said Yaalon, adding that “based on this I see an opportunity to work with Benny Gantz.”