An initial statement following a meeting between Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Blue and White party representatives on Wednesday did not indicate that a unity government with Likud was any closer than before.
Moshe Yaalon, head of the party’s Telem faction, emphasized what they would not do to bridge the gaps:
“I made it clear that Blue and White is trying to form a unity government with the Likud, as we announced from the outset,” but “we will not sit in a government headed by Netanyahu, unless a court acquits him of the serious charges against him.”
Warning of a looming “economic and social collapse,” if the country is forced to go to a third election round, Edelstein said he invited coalition negotiators for Blue and White and Likud to meet with him in “a final attempt” to form a unity government.
Edelstein was set to meet with negotiators from his own Likud party next.
Both parties say they want to avoid another election, but as yet have not hit on the concessions that would achieve that goal.
In secret talks reported by Channel 12 on Tuesday, a deal was discussed which would see Netanyahu continuing as premier for several months, then a Blue and White member — likely Gantz — taking over for two years, after which a Likud MK would take over for the remainder of the term.
However, according to Yedioth Ahronoth, Netanyahu vetoed the idea because Blue and White would not endorse granting him immunity from prosecution in the cases against him.