The Blue and White party has rejected calls on Monday for it join a unity government with the Likud.
A delegation of party officials met with President Reuven Rivlin, as part of the post-election consultations to determine which candidate is best able to form a governing coalition.
“This was a stormy election cycle,” said Knesset Member-elect Gabi Ashkenazi, a former IDF Chief of Staff who ran with the Blue and White ticket in last week’s election.
“We respect the decision the people made. In what should come as no surprise, we recommend Gantz. We are proud of the achievements we made in such a short period of time. We will continue to serve our voters and the public as a whole.”
During the meeting, President Rivlin urged the Blue and White party to consider forming a unity government with the Likud.
“Many in Israel want to see people brought together. I don’t want to use the word ‘unity’, because that has political connotations. But we’re facing political, security, domestic, and economic challenges, along with social questions which need to be handled with sensitivity. My question is, if you were invited, with no pre-conditions, to join a unity government led by someone other than the person you’re recommending [for prime minister], would you consider it?”
Party representatives rejected the proposal, however, saying they recommended that Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz be tapped to serve as Prime Minister.
“After carefully considering the idea, we think that given the current circumstances, we would be unable to serve in the kind of government you are proposed,” responded Ashkenazi.
“We will work on behalf of the Israeli people, but not from within government that is not led by Benny Gantz.”