Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are meeting the night before Gantz’s deadline in the final attempt to form a unity government.
Photo courtesy of JTA via Getty Images
By Marcy Oster
JERUSALEM (JTA) — With a third election looming in less than a year, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are taking an 11th-hour shot at forming a unity government in Israel.
The meeting will take place at 10 p.m. Tuesday, a day before Gantz’s mandate to form a government runs out. If Gantz cannot form a government by midnight Wednesday, lawmakers have 21 days to recommend someone else to form a government or could decide to call for new elections.
Gantz will meet two hours earlier with Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party. Liberman has been holding out for a secular unity government comprised of his party, Netanyahu’s Likud and Blue and White.
Netanyahu and Liberman spoke earlier Tuesday, characterizing their meeting in a joint statement as “positive and substantive.”
Netanyahu had failed to form a government coalition in the wake of elections in September, as well as in April.
If Gantz and Netanyahu fail to form a coalition, Gantz could choose to form a minority government with support from the outside by the Arab List of predominately Arab parties.
Netanyahu at a rally on Sunday night warned against a “dangerous minority government that is reliant on terror supporters,” referring to the Arab List. Arab List head Ayman Odeh accused Netanyahu of trying to foment a “civil war.”