Netanyahu: No Answer From Gantz

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel unity government
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (seated, right) Blue and White leader Benny Gantz (seated, left)and Shas chairman and Minister of Interior Affairs Rabbi Aryeh Deri (standing, right) at a memorial ceremony for Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l, Monday at the Knesset. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Likud and Blue and White parties again accused each other of thwarting a unity government and forcing a third round of elections on Monday.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ told his rightwing bloc on Monday that “We agreed to many concessions. We asked to hear answers from Gantz and heard no answer,” according to a statement released by Likud.

“Our negotiating team has been trying for two days to meet with the Blue and White negotiating team, but Blue and White have been pushing them off from day to day — and so far no meeting has been scheduled,” the statement quoted by Times of Israel said.

Blue and White dismissed the comment, saying PM Netanyahu was “spreading empty slogans.”

“The way to a broad, liberal unity government that the people want and voted for is open and well-known to Netanyahu,” Blue and White said. “We urge the Likud chairman and leadership to come to their senses and not to drag Israel to unnecessary, expensive elections for a third time.”

Meanwhile, at a memorial service at the Knesset for Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, zt”l, organized by the Shas faction, New Right Party leader MK Naftali Bennett invoked the memory of Rav Yosef to urge a unity government:

“Rabbi Ovadia saw not only halachah but besides halachah he saw the soul, the man, the cry, the compassion, the big picture. It seems to me that beyond this halachic greatness is a legacy for the people of Israel in our generation – to see how beyond the small print we can all transcend,” Bennett said.

“Here, in this room, are the Prime Minister and the Blue and White Chairman. On behalf of this entire house, I urge you to rise above the affairs of daily life and establish a unity government in Israel. May the memory of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef be for a blessing.”