BOMBSHELL IN ISRAEL: Blue & White Splits Up, Lapid & Ya’alon Out, Gantz Joining Likud In Unity Government

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The Blue and White party split up on Thursday when its leader, Benny Gantz, opted to join Netanyahu in a national unity government.

There will be a rotation for the position of prime minister between Binyamin Netanyahu and Gantz. Gantz will serve as the Knesset speaker until the unity government is formed and then will serve as foreign minister for 18 months and then will take over for Netanyahu as prime minister.

Blue and White, formerly comprised of three separate parties, are all going very separate ways. Gantz, head of Chosen Yisrael, one of the three parties that formed Blue and White, is joining Netanyahu.

Yair Lapid, chairman of Yesh Atid will head the opposition, and Telem, led by Bogie Ya’alon is splitting up, with Ya’alon on the outside and former Likud members, MKs Tzvi Hauser and Yaoz Hendel remaining in.

Gantz’s 17-member party will receive the same amount of ministerial positions as Likud. MK Gabi Ashkenazi, a former IDF chief of staff will be defense minister and Chosen L’Yisrael MK Chili Tropper will most likely be defense minister.

The coalition will be comprised of 78 members, 58 from the right-wing bloc, 17 from Gantz’s Chosen L’Yisrael, 3 from the Labor party, Gesher leader Orly Levy-Abekasis, and three “break-offs” from Telem – MKs Tzvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel.

Yesh Atid and Telem asked the Knesset to maintain the name Blue and White for their two parties.

“Gantz decided to crawl into Netanyahu’s government, it’s unfathomable,” Lapid said, adding that Gantz failed in both dethroning Netanyahu and keeping Blue and White together.

Ya’alon said that Gantz committed political suicide. Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz said that Gantz “is a collaborator with the indicted [Bibi]. He built himself on one promise – an alternative to Bibi…he is now spitting in the face and betraying Blue and White voters and the entire center-left bloc.”

The split occurred following Gantz’s decision to serve as a candidate for interim Knesset Speaker instead of Blue and White MK Meir Cohen who is from the Yesh Atid party. Gantz had promised Lapid that the speaker would be from his party but the Likud warned Gantz that if Cohen became Knesset speaker, the ongoing coalition talks between Netanyahu and Gantz would end immediately.

On Wednesday, in a dramatic move, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein resigned. A close Netanyahu ally, Edelstein had refused to comply with a Supreme Court order to convene the plenum for a vote on his successor the same day, angrily accusing the court of an “arrogant intervention” in the legislative branch. Even in stepping down, Edelstein tried to stall the vote for several days, as his resignation would only take effect 48 hours later.

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(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)




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