Yamina Snubs Likud Coalition Offer

YERUSHALAYIM -
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Yamina party claimed on Thursday night that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered it several senior portfolios if they would join his coalition, but said the proposal was rejected, according to The Times of Israel.

According to the report, Likud conveyed to Yamina that they could have the defense and transportation ministries plus another senior post and would replace Blue and White as the major coalition partner.

The story emerged amid reports that Benny Gantz’s Blue and White was on the verge of disintegration as the elections seemed imminent and the party was polling in single digits, well below its current strength of 15 seats in Knesset. Gantz’s No. 2, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, has been rumored to be planning to resign from the party.

Yamina said that rather than coming in to save the existing government, “We need snap elections, we will bring new leadership to Israel,” it said.

Meanwhile, an earlier Channel 13 report of a “dramatic” progress in talks for a deal that would avert early elections were dashed by Gantz, who reportedly told his MKs that no agreements have been reached and the country is going to elections.

Earlier in the day, the Likud released a statement dismissing the Channel 13 report as “fake news.”