Report: If Blue and White Won’t Join Yamina, Gantz Might Retire From Political Life

YERUSHALAYIM -
MK Naftali Bennett (L.) and Benny Gantz talk in the Knesset. F(lash90)

The mass exodus from Blue and White, which has seen nine MKs exit the party in the past two weeks, could spell its demise, a new poll showed Tuesday.

According to a poll by Channel 12, were elections held at this time, the party, which now numbers only six MKs, would barely win five seats, leaving it teetering on the edge of the electoral threshold.

Meanwhile, party officials are pressing Benny Gantz to unite with Yamina – on condition that Betzalel Smotrich and the National Union aren’t on the list.

Blue and White officials are growing increasingly concerned the party may fail to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold and be left out of the next Knesset.

Some in Blue and White now see an alliance with Yamina as the logical choice to prevent Blue and White’s electoral elimination. With the wave of departures from the party recently, including by prominent left-wing members like former Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn, the party’s direction has shifted to the right, making it possible for an alliance with Yamina, some party officials have argued.

Yamina responded to the report by saying that no such alliance with Blue and White is currently being considered.

According to a report by Maariv on Wednesday, people who have been talking to Gantz in recent days are receiving the impression that one of the relevant options he is considering is retirement from politics. If joining with Yamina does not happen, Ganz will seriously consider retiring, the sources told Maariv.

On Tuesday, a meeting between Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett and Smotrich failed to reach a breakthrough in talks for a joint run.

Smotrich is reportedly laying the groundwork for a possible independent run and is rebranding the party he heads as the “Religious Zionist party led by Betzalel Smotrich.”

A poll conducted by the Midgam Institute which was published on Channel 12 on Tuesday found that if Bennett separates from Smotrich, his party would win 16 seats (one coming from Gideon Sa’ar’s party and one from Yesh Atid) while Smotrich’s party would win just 2.3% of the votes – under the electoral threshold.