President Rivlin
President RivlinFlash 90

Likud and Blue and White discussed the possibility that Benny Gantz himself will be appointed Knesset Speaker, as a kind of compromise that could allow for continued contacts between the parties, but it appears the compromise has fallen through after the Joint Arab List and Meretz announced they will vote against the appointment of Benny Gantz as Knesset Speaker.

MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List) announced at noon that his party would oppose the initiative to appoint Benny Gantz Knesset Speaker with a view to saving contacts towards a unity government.

"The Joint Arab List will vote against Benny Gantz as candidate for Knesset Speaker. We'll vote for Meir Cohen. We're not part of efforts to establish a unity government where the Likud leads Blue and White by the nose,” Tibi said.

Joint Arab List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh tweeted in a similar vein, "Netanyahu's government cannot be handed over. Blue and White will decide whether they want to win together or submit alone."

MK Tamar Zandberg of Meretz said, "We didn't grant Gantz the mandate to negotiate with the Likud, nor to be Knesset Speaker - and he should internalize it. If he decides to run for Knesset Speaker, I'll vote against."

Yisrael Beyteinu Chairman MK Avigdor Liberman also hinted that he opposes the initiative. Liberman tweeted: "Yisrael Beyteinu supports Meir Cohen as candidate for Knesset Speaker."

Between the two parties there remain major disputes as to the Justice Ministry that the Likud sought to keep in their possession, while Blue and White is unwilling to compromise. In addition, there are arguments about basic principles and the Internal Security portfolio.

Likud MK Miki Zohar this morning warned the Blue and White Party in the Arrangements Committee, "The Prime Minister is going to announce that from the moment a Knesset Speaker under your auspices is appointed without agreement, all discussions on unity government will cease. I congratulate the Joint Arab List on the achievement of preventing a unity government."

Last night it was announced that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and MK Benny Gantz spoke and decided to advance unity talks.

With the coronavirus pandemic looming and the unity call by the State President, the two instructed negotiating teams to return to the discussion table tomorrow to look into the possibility of forming a national emergency government, after a week of disconnect between the parties' negotiating teams.

Earlier, President Rivlin addressed the acute political crisis in Israel. "We are currently witnessing a sharp clash between the authorities - the judiciary and the legislature. However, despite the deep rift between the camps and despite the fierce rhetoric between the parties, I know that most of the Israeli leadership, Right and Left, knows that we all have to obey court orders." Rivlin said.

The President criticized outgoing Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein: "Even if he believes the Court erred in its decision. Whatever the controversy between us, we must always ensure that the rules of the democratic game without which the house is destroyed are upheld and maintained. Now that the Knesset Speaker is resigning, I'm sure the Supreme Court order will be respected and Israeli democracy will emerge reinforced from this difficult test period."

ריבלין: אנו עדים בימים אלה להתנגשות חריפה ביותר בין הרשויות