Steinitz: 'No situation' in which right-wing bloc will break up and some will join Gantz

Likud's Min. Steinitz calls out Blue and White election campaign, urges center-left party to be 'honest,' admit they will need Arab party.

103FM ,

Yuval Steinitz
Yuval Steinitz
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) on Wednesday spoke with 103 FM Radio about Israel's collapsing healthcare system and the uncannily similar election campaigns put forward by MK Orly Levi-Abekasis' Gesher party ahead of the April 2019 elections, and MK Benny Gantz's Blue and White party in early 2020.

In the campaign, Levi-Abekasis suggested opening additional hospitals using funding from the sale of natural gas.

Steinitz pointed out that "it was very strange" that she suggested using the gas deal as a source of funding, he said. "I heard Orly-Levi Abekasis and I heard Gantz as well, say that he will build new hospitals in the next few years, with the billions that will come from the gas deal in the next few years."

"I want to remind both Orly Levi-Abekasis and Benny Gantz that many people in their parties, and they themselves, opposed the gas deal." He added: "Gantz himself wasn't there, but they opposed the gas deal. Blue and White's number five, MK [Miki] Haimovitch, suggested we leave the gas in the ground, the party's number three suggested getting rid of the Leviathan raft, Orly herself voted against the gas deal, and so did most members of Yesh Atid."

Regarding the tension between the Likud party and Yamina, Steinitz said, "It's always, always better to have a larger Likud to oppose the left. That used to be our slogan, and it's still true."

He added that the battle between the two right-wing parties over votes is "not a war, I call it a democratic struggle."

"But I want to tell you something else. I'm always hearing, even from members of the Joint Arab List, MKs Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi, and also from members of Blue and White - they're denying that they'll sit together [in a coalition]. It's simple math. Gantz doesn't have a government without the Joint Arab List's 13 seats, who would need to support him from the inside or the outside."

"There's no situation" in which the right-religious bloc would sit with Gantz, he added. "If we want to avoid a fourth round of elections, there's only one way to do that. We, the Likud, and the right-wing bloc need another 2-3 Knesset seats in order to forma stable government."

"Gantz, even if you add another three Knesset seats, still won't have a government without the support of the Joint Arab List," he emphasized.

Steinitz refused to rule out a situation similar to the coalition led by former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, when the Arab list supported the coalition from the outside.

"I'm telling you that that's exactly what might be the situation now. But Blue and White are denying it. They don't have a government without the support, from inside a coalition or outside it, of the Joint Arab List, and that means that if Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi are not government ministers, one will chair the Finance Committee and the other will chair the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, or the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee. And you just need to say honestly that that is where Gantz and his friends may lead us."



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