Gantz continues to boycott Smotrich and Litzman

Blue and White official: Netanyahu knows we will not sit down with Litzman and Smotrich, and certainly not with him as prime minister.

Elad Benari ,

Rivlin with Gantz and Netanyahu
Rivlin with Gantz and Netanyahu
Haim Zach/GPO

Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, who met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday evening, expressed anger over Netanyahu's statement after the meeting that he is committed to the bloc he set up with the other right-wing parties.

"The public elected change and we have no intention of conceding our leadership, our principles or our natural partners in this path," Gantz told members of his party.

A Blue and White official said after the meeting that he did not think there was any serious intention on the part of Netanyahu to strive for unity.

"They speak in two different languages. Bibi is deceiving, his pushing for a third election with all his might. After all, he knows we won't sit with Litzman and Smotrich, and certainly not with him as prime minister. The debate is not about who will be prime minister. The debate is about ideology," the source said.

After the meeting with Gantz, Netanyahu updated the heads of the nationalist bloc, and told them that he had made it clear during the meeting that he represents the entire national camp, acts on its behalf and negotiates on behalf of the entire bloc.

"I am committed to what I promised you," Netanyahu told the party leaders.

The tripartite meeting between Netanyahu, Gantz and President Reuven Rivlin lasted more than two hours during which various scenarios on the establishment of a unity government were discussed. At the conclusion of the first part of the meeting, the president left the room, leaving the two party leaders to talk face-to-face.

"We took a significant step tonight, and now the first challenge is building a channel of a direct dialogue of trust between the parties," Rivlin said at the end of the meeting.

The president emphasized that "the current situation in which a transitional government is serving is seriously hurting the citizens of Israel and our ability to meet the challenges we face."

"The people expect you to find the solution and prevent further elections, at both a personal and sometimes ideological price. This is not the time for boycotts. A possible joint and equal government can and should express different and varied voices in society," Rivlin added.