Netanyahu: This is Avidgor Liberman's moment of truth

PM says Benny Gantz rejected offer to form rotational unity government, calls on Yisrael Beytenu to help him form right-wing government.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
צילום: תומר נויברג/TPS

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on Yisrael Beytenu chief Avidgor Liberman Wednesday to help him form a right-wing government, after the prime minister’s meeting with Benny Gantz Tuesday night failed to achieve progress towards the formation of a national unity government.

Netanyahu cited Liberman’s vow to back whichever candidate pushed for a unity government, if the second candidate refused the overture, saying the time had come for Liberman to make good on his promise and back the Likud after Tuesday night’s failed talks with Blue and White chief Benny Gantz.

“Unfortunately, during our talks last night Benny Gantz refused to accept the condition set by Avidgor Liberman – accepting the president’s compromise arrangement under which I would serve first as prime minister, as part of a rotational premiership. Liberman said that he would go with whichever side doesn’t refuse the deal. Now, all that is left is to see if Avidgor Liberman will keep his promise.”

Both Netanyahu and Gantz blamed the other for the failure to reach a breakthrough at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Sadly, today I realized at the meeting with Gantz that he is rejecting the president's outline and ignoring the will of most of the people that we set up a broad national unity government together,” said Netanyahu.

"Gantz intends to form a minority government that relies on the abstention of the Joint Arab List. The Prime Minister will make further efforts tomorrow with Avigdor Liberman to establish a national unity government with the aim of preventing unnecessary elections or a minority government that is dangerous for the State of Israel."

Gantz, on the other hand, seemed to blame Netanyahu’s insistence that the entire right-wing bloc be brought in to a unity government.

“A unity government which, alongside security and economic concerns, will work to end the rifting that has spread in Israeli society in recent years. A government whose founding lines will be set on the basis of major parties and therefore cannot be built on the basis of one or another sectoral bloc,” said Gantz.

If no deal can be reached for the formation of a government by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Gantz’s mandate to form a government will expire.

At that point, the Knesset will have 21 days to vote for prime minister, with 61 votes required to be nominated for the premiership. A candidate who receives the nomination from the Knesset will then have two weeks to form a government.

If the Knesset is unable to nominate a candidate, or if that candidate fails to build a government, Israel will be forced to hold its third election in less than 12 months.