Likud Offers Gantz Unity Deal: Six-Month Emergency Gov’t Headed by Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R) meets with Benny Gantz. (PMO/File)

The Likud on Sunday presented its official offer for a unity government to Blue and White. The government, which would come into being in order to enable the country to better deal with the coronavirus crisis, would require a Knesset majority to change the Basic Law on government.

The deal would see a government operate for at least six months, with Netanyahu as prime minister. Blue and White would receive appropriate representation in the form of ministries and chairmanships of Knesset committees, with Benny Gantz likely appointed defense minister. Netanyahu would be unable to fire the Blue and White ministers, and party MKs would commit to refrain from trying to remove him from office in a no-confidence vote.

After the six-month period, the two sides would discuss renewing the deal under the same conditions or changes to them. The next stage in the deal would be a full unity government, with Netanyahu prime minister for the coming year and a half, and Gantz taking over afterward to fill out the government’s four-year term.

Alternatively, the emergency government would break up, and the situation would return to what it currently is – with both right and left making recommendations on who should be prime minister to President Reuven Rivlin. “I call on Benny Gantz to meet with me and conduct negotiations in order to come to an agreement,” Netanyahu wrote in his offer.

Netanyahu called for a unity government again Motzoei Shabbos, as he, along with top officials in the Health and Finance Ministries, announced further strictures to enable the country to weather the coronavirus crisis. Netanyahu said that the country needed a unity government – not only because of the coronavirus emergency, but because “we can’t afford another round of elections.”

Earlier Sunday, Blue and White said that it had not received a concrete offer from the Likud. “Netanyahu refuses to agree to meetings of negotiating committees. He has been making his offers through the media,” the party said.

On Sunday, parties begin appearing before Rivlin to make their recommendations on whom the President should appoint to attempt to form a government. Netanyahu has a solid 58 MKs who will nominate him, but it is not clear if Gantz will have more. The votes of Yisrael Beytenu and Gesher are up in the air, and reports said Sunday that the three-MK faction of Balad in the United Arab List does not plan to recommend Gantz either.

Kan News reported Sunday that Blue and White officials have told List MKs that there is no negotiating going on with the Likud.