Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid said on Monday that he has given up on a rotation agreement for the premiership with party leader Benny Gantz.
Lapid made the announcement at Monday’s faction meeting in the Knesset, though the decision was made last week, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Lapid claimed that he agreed to it because “it is what is best for the country.”
“The rotation and the job aren’t what’s important,” he said. What’s important is “freeing the country from [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu.”
During the meeting, Gantz denied numerous reports of an angry split with Lapid, who has been the major impediment to a unity government, in the party’s higher echelons.
In response, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu dismissed Lapid’s move as “transparent spin.”
“Gantz and Lapid, enough with the transparent tricks that are aimed at distracting attention from your refusal to form a broad national unity government that would sign a mutual defense pact with the United States and annex wide swaths of Yehudah and Shomron,” he said in a statement.
“Since Lapid and Gantz are persisting in their refusal and are only engaging in transparent spin, there is only one option left to prevent unnecessary elections: I call on Avigdor Liberman to enter expedited negotiations in the 48 hours left to form a strong right-wing government for Israel.”
Blue and White shot back: “The only thing that is transparent is Netanyahu’s will to lead Israel to additional elections just to get immunity” from prosecution in three corruption cases. “Netanyahu, set Israel free [from yourself].”
Gantz made another play for unity, but only on condition that Netanyahu will give up his request for immunity from prosecution in the corruption cases against him.
“Netanyahu must put Israel’s best interest ahead of Netanyahu’s and make a move,” Gantz said. “I repeat my call to the prime minister to promise, with your own voice, to give up immunity, and do that today. If you give up immunity, we are partners for the beginning of negotiations.”