Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has offered Blue and White leader Benny Gantz a premiership rotation deal in which Gantz would go first, Channel 12 reported on Sunday evening.
It’s Netanyahu’s latest bid to stay in power after attempts to build a coalition with Yamina, New Hope and Ra’am have failed.
Gantz told Netanyahu that he didn’t think he could go along with it, but didn’t reject it outright, according to the report.
Under their rotation deal in the previous government, Gantz was to become prime minister last November after Netanyahu, but the government collapsed before Gantz could have his turn. Ostensibly, the breakup came over a budgetary dispute, but Netanyahu has been accused of never intending to keep the agreement and ceding power to Gantz.
Channel 13 reported that Netanyahu is expected to offer the premiership in rotation to one of the leaders of the so-called “change bloc,” led by Yesh Atid, without elaborating.
Those parties were trying to reconcile differences over the issues of state and religion in order to facilitate a coalition.
Channel 12 said that Yamina and New Hope have reached understandings with the left-center parties on such matters as conversion and kosher certification.
But the allocation of ministerial portfolios continues to keep the sides apart.
In a separate report, Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman was insisting that the chareidi parties be excluded for 18 months, though other leaders in the anti-Netanyahu bloc want him to drop the demand.
Responding to the report, Yamina said Bennett would “not accept a boycott of the chareidim during the formation of the government.”
“Bennett will not boycott the chareidim or their representatives, nor any group in Israel. Any government in which we participate will take care of all Israeli citizens, and will not negatively label any population group,” a spokesperson for the party said Friday.
But in addition to longstanding objections to any coalition with either Lapid or Liberman, chareidi leaders have for years fought any liberalization of the conversion process or weakening of the chief rabbinate’s control of kashrus supervision. Thus, it would be hard to see how they could join the so-called “change bloc” if the changes entailed a weakening of crucial Jewish issues.