Blue and White party leaders Benny Gantz (l) and Yair Lapid (r)
Blue and White party leaders Benny Gantz (l) and Yair Lapid (r)Flash 90

Blue and White MK and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid blasted Binyamin Netanyahu’s plans to lead Israel to early elections if the current coalition crisis cannot be resolved, demanding President Rivlin be given the opportunity to nominate another candidate for Prime Minister if Netanyahu’s bid to build a right-wing coalition fails.

“Dissolving the Knesset is an affront to the law,” Lapid said Tuesday morning in an interview with Galey Tzahal – Army Radio.

Instead, Lapid argued, Netanyahu should allow President Rivlin to decide whether to extend Netanyahu’s mandate again by a further two weeks, or task Blue and White chief Benny Gantz with forming a unity government.

“There is no reason why the Blue and White party shouldn’t form the government. Even if Liberman gets 10 mandates, he won’t have the kind of power he currently has with his five present ones. Netanyahu will do anything at all to form a government.”

With the Wednesday deadline for forming the government approaching, the Likud has been unable to broker a deal between Avidgor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party and haredi lawmakers on the future of the draft deferment program for yeshiva students. Without the support of both sides, Netanyahu cannot secure majority support in the Knesset, and has warned that failure to build a coalition government by Wednesday would force Israel to new elections.

If Netanyahu does not form a government by Wednesday, the Knesset will either have to dissolve itself and go to new elections, or President Reuven Rivlin will be forced to determine whether Netanyahu is the only viable candidate for the premiership and grant him an additional two weeks, or find that another candidate is capable of building a government.

During his comments on Army Radio Tuesday, Lapid suggested that if Israel does go to new elections, he may not run as number two on the list, behind Blue and White chief Benny Gantz.

“We’ll hold a discussion on that,” Lapid said, without elaborating.