The head of Israeli political alliance Blue and White, Benny Gantz, has called upon officials from Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud to form a coalition government, arguing that the Israeli PM was risking to “ignite a civil war” with his actions, Haaretz reported.
“Likud leaders, it's time to make your voice heard”, Gantz told the media. “The last days and weeks leave no room for doubt - Netanyahu risks igniting a civil war between us”.
“I respect you and I call for a partnership with you”, Blue and White’s chairman added. “Even if we do not agree on everything, you, like my friends and I, share the Zionist values of partnership and unity. It's time for you to put the fears and threats of the past aside, and to march Israeli society as a whole into a new era of healing”.
The call comes following Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s announcement on 21 November that Benjamin Netanyahu will be indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. Mandelblit notified the Knesset of his intentions to decide on whether or not to strip the prime minister of his immunity and called upon Netanyahu to vacate the portfolios of agriculture, health, social affairs, and diaspora affairs the latter currently holds.
Netanyahu has dismissed all the charges and branded the corruption indictment “an attempted coup” against him, something that was also heavily criticised by Gantz, who saw the prime minister’s behaviour as an attempt to define Israeli existence through his governance.
“None of the previous leaders, be it from Israel's right or left, ever dared to think of the state as theirs, or that it cannot exist without them, none of them thought to turn one man against his brother, to incite one against his brother, and to call explicitly or implicitly for one to harm his brother”, Gantz said as quoted by the media.
“I demand he respect his loss in the election, and the decision of the legal system whose heads he himself appointed, I call on him to respect the will of the majority of the people by resigning from his position and fighting for his innocence”, the head of the Blue and White alliance added.
Gantz still expressed hope that Netanyahu would be cleared of all the charges, as the prime minister is currently accused of trying to bribe the press with political favours to secure advantageous coverage, as well as receiving valuable gifts in alleged quid-pro-quo deals with two millionaires.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been struggling to form a coalition government since an April election, with the Knesset subsequently dissolving itself, triggering a new election in September 2019. The centrist Blue and White alliance emerged slightly ahead of Likud following the vote, but Netanyahu was still appointed by the Israeli president to form a coalition government, but was unable to do so. On 21 November, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin gave the Knesset 21 days to form a coalition government after the head of Blue and White alliance Benny Gantz also failed to establish one.