Right bloc: Edelstein's removal puts end to unity government

Members of the nationalist camp sign a document: No unity if Blue White oust Yuli Edelstein.

Hezki Baruch ,

Netanyahu and right-wing leaders in Knesset
Netanyahu and right-wing leaders in Knesset
Hezki Baruch

MKs from the nationalist camp signed a pledge this afternoon according to which if the Blue and White Party ousts Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, they will not agree to a unity government. The right-wing MKs also stated that if the left-wing parties promote legislation against Prime Minister Netanyahu's candidacy, they will not run in direct elections, opting to allow Netanyahu to be the only candidate from the Right.

The complete version of the statement on behalf of the nationalist camp reads:

We, MKs of the nationalist camp (Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and Yamina) wish to emphasize: an attempt to oust the incumbent Knesset Speaker before a clear picture of the upcoming government emerges [is paramount to] crossing a red line and eliminating the possibility of forming a broad emergency government.

If Blue and White take this drastic step, it means that they have decided conclusively to eliminate the possibility of a unity government negotiated between the parties. According to the proposed unity agreement with Blue and White, Prime Minister Netanyahu will serve a year and a half term, followed by Benny Gantz serving an equivalent time period.

While Prime Minister Netanyahu serves, the Likud will maintain the portfolios of Knesset Speaker and Finance Minister - required to pass the budget and manage the Corona crisis. Then, during Gantz's tenure, the roles will change.

This logical agreement was set up to allow the incumbent prime minister to pass legislation and the Knesset budget to manage financial and economic affairs, crucial for reigning in the global epidemic and unprecedented economic crisis.

The Prime Minister will not be able to do this with a [Blue and White] Speaker in place. Yair Lapid knows this. The real reason he insists on removing the Speaker is to thwart the unity government and pass Iranian anti-democratic laws.

These Iranian laws will prevent Prime Minister Netanyahu from serving as prime minister [or] running for direct elections, which Lapid scandalously plans to hold during the present term [despite] the ongoing crisis. Such laws do not exist in any democracy in the world. Their passing will cause huge public outrage, loss of confidence in the state, and the crushing of Israeli democracy - precisely at a time that the Israeli public expects [our full support].

We therefore proclaim:

1. If Blue and White unilaterally appoints a new Knesset Speaker and thereby eliminates the prospect of establishing a unity government, there will be no point in further negotiations after the possibility of unity has been eliminated.

2. In the event that they pass the tyrannical laws to prevent [Netanyahu from serving as prime minister or running in direct elections], we pledge not to promote our own candidate.

3. We will do our utmost to quickly bring down this anti-democratic and irresponsible government.

4. We call on Benny Gantz to show leadership and responsibility and immediately enter a broad national emergency government.

Since the signing of the proclamation, Israel's High Court has approved Blue and White's petition to force a vote on a new Knesset Speaker.