MK Gantz (L) and MK Liberman (R)
MK Gantz (L) and MK Liberman (R)Elad Malka

MK Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party, on Saturday night gave Blue and White Chairman MK Benny Gantz the green light for the formation of a minority government supported from the outside by the Joint Arab List.

The purpose of the agreement is to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to come to the table without the 55-MK right-religious bloc which stands behind him.

According to Israel Hayom, Liberman and Gantz will sign an agreement in the coming days, leaving Netanyahu with the option of abandoning his supporters or allowing the formation of the potentially dangerous minority government.

If Netanyahu does not abandon his bloc, the parties on the center-left will sign the agreement and take control of the government next week.

Liberman has not yet committed to joining the minority government if Netanyahu refuses the ultimatum, Israel Hayom noted.

Such a minority government would have 47 MKs from the Blue and White, Labor-Gesher, and Yisrael Beytenu parties. Due to pressure from right-leaning Blue and White MKs Moshe Ya'alon, Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser, the party has insisted Liberman not abstain or be absent from the vote to approve the minority government, which will be supported by the Joint Arab List.

Instead, the party demands Liberman actively support such a government and take part in it, in order to increase its legitimacy in the eyes of the Israeli public. In such a case, the left-wing Meretz party, with which Liberman is not willing to sit in a government, would support the government from outside, together with four of the Joint Arab List's MKs.

The minority government would rest on the support of 56 MKs - one MK more than the religious-right bloc has.

In addition to the question of what Liberman will do if Netanyahu refuses the ultimatum, it is not yet clear if there are four MKs from the Joint Arab List who will support Liberman's appointment to a ministry - something the entire plan depends on.

Earlier on Saturday, Netanyahu said he knew with "certainty" that Blue and White would try to form such a minority government, which he warned would be a "disaster" and a "historical danger to Israel's security."