Last Last-Ditch Try for Unity Ends in Failure

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on November 20, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

What was probably the last “last-ditch” attempt to agree on a unity government of the Likud and the Blue and White parties ended in failure and mutual recriminations on Tuesday evening.

Just minutes after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ and Blue and White leader Benny Gants concluded a 45-minute meeting in Tel Aviv, Likud again accused the other side of preventing an agreement and forcing elections that nobody wants.

“The prime minister offered to creatively anchor in law the [premiership] rotation. In the face of far-reaching concessions, Blue and White continues to refuse to form a unity government over the veto imposed by [B&W No. 2 Yair] Lapid,” Netanyahu’s party said.

Blue and White said in a statement: “The Likud chairman brought no offer that matches his legal situation or recognizes that he lost the elections, or any new offer at all. In the meeting, he refused to commit to the government’s basic outline or to not seek personal immunity [from prosecution].

“In short, Netanyahu chose elections,” it claimed.

Prior to the meeting, Blue and White MK Tzvi Hauser denied numerous reports that Likud offered a power-sharing deal, under which Netanyahu would serve as prime minister for six months before stepping aside for Gantz.

“There is no deal like that,” he told the Kan public broadcaster.

“Let the prime minister declare that he won’t seek immunity, that he’s innocent and that he will fight for his innocence in court,” said Hauser, a former Netanyahu cabinet secretary. “This would be a significant step that could improve arrangements that would ultimately lead to unity.”