Hili Tropper
Hili TropperHezki Baruch

Culture and Sport Minister Hili Tropper (Blue and White), one of the main figures involved in drafting the agreement between Blue and White and New Hope for a joint run, said that the cooperation between the two parties began a year ago.

Speaking to Israel Hayom, Tropper said that a year ago, around May 2021, when it did not seem there would be a government, Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar (New Hope) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) examined the option of running together.

"We sat together in a small circle, Benny, Gideon, and myself, in order to think about how it would look from the content perspective," Tropper said. "I deal more with the content. Then, we had not yet reached the stage of rankings, but it was clear to both of them that if there was an option of a 'government of change' then the obligation to it is very clear, and then the government was formed. In the past few months, when the government started to creak, the option returned the the table. From the moment the government fell, we sped it up."

When asked whether the united party ruled out Likud leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, Tropper said, "Both Sa'ar and Benny were burned by Netanyahu. We have already reached out our hand to Netanyahu, and that hand did not meet another hand, and so it did not happen."

"I do not want anyone to reduce my entire worldview to, 'Yes Netanyahu, no Netanyahu.' Therefore our language is not directed at Netanyahu, we have no interest in putting him down. There are many Israelis who support Netanyahu and they are excellent Israelis no less than those who vote for me, and I want to cooperate with them. But we were burned. We want a partnership with the Likud but our experience of partnership with them while Netanyahu was at the head did not succeed."

Regarding whether Gantz would serve as prime minister if he did not receive the largest number of Knesset seats, Tropper said, "The number of seats is important. I want to form a government of at least 61, I want a broader government. Netanyahu has a lot of seats but he did not succeed in forming a government four times already. On the other hand, Gantz does not want to be prime minister just because of a political constellation that was created. He does not want to be prime minister with a single-digit number of seats. He doesn't believe in that. He wants to reach that position with public legitimacy. Because of that we are aiming for a two-digit number of seats."

When asked if Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana would join the party, Tropper answered, "Matan is an excellent person. There is a closeness of positions. I do not know if it will come to fruition. This will be examined in the coming weeks. Until now, we were busy with the larger union."