Lapid: No Arabs, We’ll Ask Likud to Join Our Government

Yesh Atid Party chairman Yair Lapid. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Polls show a deadlock in the possibility of formation of a government between the center left, led by Blue and White, and the right, led by the Likud, with both camps likely to get 48 seats. The balance are divided between chareidi parties, which polls show can expect 12 seats, and the Arab parties, which will likely get a similar number.

But as the chareidi parties have said several times that they will not join a government in which Yair Lapid is a top member – in the rotation agreement with Benny Gantz, he will be the party’s number two for two a half years, and then become prime minister – which leaves Blue and White with just the Arab parties, if they want to try and prevent Binyamin Netanyahu from forming another government. As a result, the Likud has accused Blue and White of preparing to do just that.

But the party has no intention of doing that, Lapid said in an interview with Reshet Bet Monday. “I will make this plain and simple. We will not create a coalition or a technical bloc with the Arabs, period. What’s even more interesting is that there is no such thing as a ‘technical bloc.’ This is just another invention of Netanyahu’s.”

Indeed, even if the Arab parties vote against a Netanyahu-led government, Blue and White would still have to recruit another 13 MKs to join its coalition – which means that, without the possibility of bringing in the chareidi parties, they would have to either split the Likud or appeal to the New Right List or Naftali Bennett’s New Right – both considered very unlikely candidates for a Blue and White coalition membership.

The natural move for his party would be to invite the Likud to join in a Gantz-led government – despite Lapid’s personal animus for Netanyahu, he said. “We won’t form a government with the Arabs, we will seek to do so with the Likud. This will be a post-Netanyahu Likud, he will not remain in the party if he loses. The Likud is an important national party with good people, and they will make a positive addition to the next Knesset. I would certainly be happy to be in a government with them,” Lapid said.