Prime Minister Netanyahu published a video message this evening (Tuesday) to National Unity leader MK Benny Gantz.
"I want to address Benny Gantz. We have many differences, but we also have a lot in common. Both of our names are Benjamin. We both fought on the battlefield against a common enemy. And today the majority of the people expect us to do something for a common goal. They want us to reach agreements. But in order to reach agreements, you have to do one simple thing: put aside all the preconditions, all the obstacles, enter the room and talk."
"That is why I am inviting your team tomorrow morning to sit with our team and we will do what the majority of the Israeli people expect: we will sit down and reach agreements," Netanyahu said.
Gantz rejected Netanyahu's proposal in a speech he gave to his party activists. "In recent days, the President of the country, who is making sincere efforts to prevent the great rift, contacted me and presented an outline that he said was agreed upon with the Prime Minister. From the beginning, I told the President that I had difficulty believing the coalition would support the outline, but it is our duty to try - with the necessary responsibility and caution. The outline that was presented, and its main points were published in the media, is not the outline of our dreams. We were willing to discuss it as a basis, in order to stop the coup d'état and damage to the State of Israel."
He added, "We were ready, with the understanding that when we are in power, we will lead a broader process that will strengthen the rule of law and anchor the rules of the game in broad agreements. Yesterday we held consultations and analyzed the proposal - down to the last comma. Without going into details, I say - that the first principle was that if we reach an agreement - which we did not reach, first of all - the reasonability standard will be amended and the Protection Law will be enacted, and only after that will other amendments be made."
Gantz harshly criticized the government and said: "Yesterday it was proven that the State of Israel was taken hostage by the extremists - while the moderates in the coalition are silent. I call on the leaders of the coalition from here to make their voices heard and impose their position. I say to the voters of the coalition - look into the abyss they are dragging you into. This government is not competent to run a country. Netanyahu should dissolve the Knesset and the State of Israel should go to elections that will allow the fusion of Israeli society."
In response to Netanyahu's proposal for a dialogue, Gantz said: "Only yesterday Netanyahu and the Likud denied and rejected their own proposal, and today Netanyahu is spreading a new spin of calling for talks. We in National Unity will continue to conduct ourselves responsibly. We understand that the public does not want a coalition of extremists. If in the future the hand of the moderates in the coalition is stronger, and we are able to prevent the destruction of democracy - we will be there. If there is a proven and real possibility in the future. I repeat - a proven and real possibility in the future to reach agreements that will preserve democracy and rescue us from the severe rift and the dangers that stand before us - our hand will be outstretched, and our eyes will be open and examining."
The Likud responded: "Gantz continues boycotts and again runs away from any attempt to reach agreements. He gets a zero in leadership and a zero in statesmanship."
Earlier, Kan reported that Gantz set a condition for the return to the talks at the President's House and that the talks would only take place in front of the President, and not in front of Likud staff representatives.
According to the report, the Likud wanted the talks to become direct and to be conducted between the parties without an intermediary, in contrast to National Unity, who claimed that the only way to ensure that this was not a trick was through the conduct of the talks with the members of the President's House and not directly between the parties.
This means that the President's team will talk with the National Unity team alone, and the President's team will hold a separate conversation with the Likud team.
Last night, Gantz met with the heads of his party's negotiating team for talks at the President's House, Knesset members Hili Tropper and Gideon Sa'ar, to discuss the details of the outline drawn up by members of the President's House. At the end of the meeting, Gantz gave the green light for the two to return to the talks at the President's residence, after a break of several months since the talks were stopped, due to the delay in the selection of Knesset representatives for the committee to appoint judges.