Report: Blue and White Members Call to Replace Gantz

YERUSHALAYIM -
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) arrives to the Knesset, last week. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool via Reuters)

With Blue and White predicted to crash hard in the coming election, as polls give them a maximum of 10 seats, the rift between party members is growing. The party’s polling further deteriorated following the announcement that former Likud MK Gideon Sa’ar had established a new political party, in addition to ongoing criticism of the lack of leadership from Blue and White head Benny Gantz.

Blue and White is now divided into two camps, reports Yisrael Hayom. One camp is interested in elections being called immediately so that they can pick the most inconvenient timing for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – March. On the other hand, there are those  behind the scenes who are relaying the message that it is only through Gantz’s ouster that the party, now predicted by most polls to garner a measly six seats, can be saved. At the same time, both camps are still holding out hope a compromise can be reached with the Likud and an election can be avoided altogether.

A senior Blue and White official told Yisrael Hayom that “reports in recent days of a lack of leadership in Blue and White, and the polls pointing to a dramatic drop in Blue and White’s Knesset seats, and Benny Gantz being poorly suited for the premiership demand we ponder our path and examine whether a change to the party leadership is needed.

“Blue and White must remain a governing alternative, and in its current composition, all of this is in question,” the official said. “Blue and White was established to replace the [Likud]  government, and to do that it needs to make decisions on who will lead it in the near future,” he said.

Should the government fail to pass a state budget by Dec. 23, the Knesset will automatically dissolve, and the country will head to another election. Just seven of the nine days remaining days are working days where MKs can in fact pass a budget, meaning the chances of Likud meeting Blue and White’s demands and passing the 2021 budget are practically nonexistent.

Among members of the political system, several suggestions have been made for getting the government out of this mess, for example, by postponing the submission of the budget or amending the state budget law to neutralize the requirement the Knesset automatically dissolve absent a budget. Yet another option would see Blue and White agree to pass the 2020 budget later on, but this would allow Netanyahu to avoid holding up his side of the rotation deal with Gantz, something Blue and White opposes. According to both Likud and Blue and White, no serious talks have been held between the two parties in an attempt to reach a compromise.

“There is no compromise because of Blue and White,” a Likud official said. “We want elections around May, but Blue and White wants them as early as possible. We tell them: ‘Let’s be responsible. We won’t harm public health. The great corona crisis will be behind us, and it will be safer to hold elections at this time.'”

The official said, “If Blue and White continues to insist on elections in March, they’ll be committing political suicide.”