Gabbay: When we have 30 seats, everyone will want to join

Zionist Union chairman responds to Kahlon and Liberman, who both ruled out being part of a left-wing government.

Elad Benari ,

Avi Gabbay
Avi Gabbay
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay on Sunday responded to ministers Moshe Kahlon and Avigdor Liberman, who declared on Saturday that they would not sit in a left-wing government after the next elections and would not join a coalition led by Gabbay.

"When we bring 30 seats, everyone will want to be in our coalition. They are afraid, I can understand them," Gabbay told Channel 2 News.

"The only thing they are able to accomplish is creating the right feeling among the public that the next government will be headed by the center-left, and that proves everything. We will establish a government that will benefit the people of Israel, that will work towards accomplishing the important things, and will not advance spins like how to protect the prime minister from investigations," he continued.

Liberman, the chairman of Yisrael Beytenu, “is the last person I would turn to in order to form a coalition,” said Gabbay, adding, “In his agenda, he promotes corruption wherever he and his party are involved. I understand that he is closer to [Yair] Lapid, that's okay. They can be together."

Regarding Kahlon, with whom he established the Kulanu party in 2015, Gabbay stressed that there is nothing preventing the two from sitting together in a government headed by Gabbay.

"I told Kahlon that we would sit with him in the coalition," Gabbay explained. "I noticed that Kahlon said he would not sit in a government headed by Labor, which means he says he will only sit in Netanyahu's government. His audience understands now that if they vote for him, they will in essence be voting for Netanyahu."

Both Kahlon and Liberman stressed on Saturday night they would not join a leftist government.

"I can tell you one thing: Kulanu will not join a left-wing government. I am part of the nationalist camp. Unlike the Labor party and its leader, I opposed the eviction from Gush Katif in 2015, and I am in favor of a united Israel and a united Jerusalem. Therefore, I see no situation in which Kulanu would join a leftist government led by the Labor party," said Kahlon.

Liberman, meanwhile, called Gabbay "irrelevant" and said "there are at least two parties - Yisrael Beytenu and Kulanu - which will never join any coalition led by Avi Gabbay. Not only that, you cannot form a coalition at all without these two parties."

Their comments came after a poll showed that the center-left bloc is strengthening, and if elections were to be held today, Binyamin Netanyahu would have trouble establishing a government.

That poll found that the left-center bloc would achieve 58 Knesset seats and the right-wing bloc would have 62. This means that Prime Minister Netanyahu could in principle form a new coalition, but will find it difficult to do so.