Lapid Says No Chance Gantz Will Go Back to Netanyahu

YERUSHALAYIM -
Then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and then-Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz at a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerushalayim last May. (Amit Shabi/POOL)

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid dismissed on Thursday night a report that Defense Minister Benny Gantz might respond positively to an offer from Binyamin Netanyahu to make Gantz prime minister at the head of a replacement coalition with Likud and the religious parties.

Earlier on Thursday, Yisrael Hayom reported that Netanyahu was considering the move, which would see Gantz serve a full term as PM while Netanyahu takes a back seat as alternate PM.

A Knesset vote would enable such an arrangement, assuming that Gantz’s Blue and White party and the renegade Yamina MK Amichai Chikli would vote with the Netanyahu-led bloc, yielding a 61-MK majority.

“I think there is no chance of Gantz going with Bibi,” Lapid said. “Bibi isn’t prime minister now because no one believed him. He tricked Gantz before and he would again. People can each be tricked once,” he said, referring to Netanyahu’s machinations that led to the collapse of the previous government, and deprived Gantz of his turn as prime minister, as provided in the coalition deal.

Lapid was apparently speaking on behalf of Gantz, who has so far made no comment.

Neither Blue and White nor Likud were willing to respond to the report.

As Alternate Prime Minister to PM Naftali Bennett, Lapid is a situation parallel to the Netanyahu-Gantz arrangement.

Asked if he believes Bennett will fulfill the rotation agreement and step aside when the time comes to let him become prime minister in August 2023, Lapid said he believed the agreements will be honored.