Gantz calls, encounters the right-wing bloc

Blue and White chairman speaks to leaders of right-wing parties, who tell him he should speak with the Likud negotiating team.

Hezki Baruch ,

Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz
Photo: TPS

Blue and White chairman MK Benny Gantz on Wednesday evening called the leaders of the right-wing parties and invited them to meet with him. He heard a similar answer from all of them: You can talk to us through the right-wing bloc’s negotiating team.

The first leader Gantz called was United Torah Judaism chairman Yaakov Litzman, who replied without hesitation that he was not interested in meeting because the Likud represents the UTJ party as part of the right-wing bloc.

Minutes later, Gantz tried Degel Hatorah chairman MK Moshe Gafni and received the same response from him.

The chairman of the Jewish Home-National Union, Education Minister Rafi Peretz, also made clear to Gantz that he would only meet with him as a representative of the right-wing bloc.

Shas chairman MK Aryeh Deri and New Right chairwoman Ayelet Shaked told Gantz that they would be ready to talk to him later, after the results of the meeting between the Blue and White and Likud negotiation teams, which is set for Sunday, are known.

New Right chairman MK Naftali Bennett told Gantz that it is essential that he first meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and promote the establishment of a broad unity government on the basis of the president's outline, as this is the only option for forming a government. He pointed out that it is important to come to the negotiations with an open mind and not to disqualify Netanyahu, the haredim or the residents of Judea and Samaria.

Bennett made it clear that he was part of the right-wing bloc and that he is committed to the bloc. The two agreed to stay in touch after a Gantz-Netanyahu meeting.

Later, Gantz phoned National Union chairman Bezalel Smotrich and offered to meet him.

Minister Smotrich congratulated MK Gantz on accepting the mandate to form a government and expressed his hope that a broad unity government will be established and which, while it may not be able to advance controversial issues, will focus on the many challenges facing the State of Israel and on which a broad consensus can be reached. He thanked Gantz for inviting him but said he was committed to the right-wing bloc and asked for the negotiations to be conducted jointly with all right-wing parties through their representatives, Ministers Yariv Levin and Ze’ev Elkin.

Minister Smotrich emphasized that the right-wing parties are coming to the negotiations with clean hands and intend to succeed in establishing a broad Zionist national unity government without disqualifications - not of people, not of sectors, and not of parties.

The last person Gantz called was Prime Minister and Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu. During the conversation, Gantz stressed his desire to form a broad liberal unity government. Gantz suggested to Netanyahu that they meet, and Netanyahu replied that he would get back to Gantz on this matter.

In the meantime, the Blue and White negotiating team has decided to meet with the Likud negotiating team on Sunday afternoon. That day, a meeting will also be held with the Yisrael Beytenu team.

On Tuesday, the Blue and White team will meet with representatives of the Labor and Democratic Union parties.