On the eve of negotiations between the Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz’ Blue and White party, Likud officials slammed Gantz for meeting with Ayman Odeh and Ahmed Tibi from the Arab-dominated Joint List.
Netanyahu failed to form a new government following the September 17 elections, and Gantz, the PM’s main opponent in the deadlocked polls, is now seeking to do so.
The Likud officials accused Gantz of agreeing with hostile Arab parties on forming a coalition government.
During a meeting for his bloc, Gantz said that Netanyahu is behaving in a selfish manner, disregarding the state’s interests.
Political sources in Tel Aviv said that Netanyahu is trying to procrastinate on the government formation to avoid being prosecuted at a Tel Aviv court on corruption charges.
Netanyahu prefers to appear at a court in Jerusalem in his position as prime minister.
Gantz has contacted Odeh and Tibi, discussing with them their conditions to support the new government. They both commended the meeting as “positive” and highlighted what they said was a change in Gantz’ stance towards Arabs and their rights.
But a government is impossible without the approval of Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Lieberman who has garnered eight seats in the Knesset. Lieberman stated earlier that he is not interested in any partnership with the Arab parties.
Netanyahu announced Friday that he will hold a meeting for heads of the right-wing bloc on Sunday in order to discuss the efforts to form the government.
Reliable political sources said that Netanyahu’s actions are a sign that Israel will soon be heading toward a third election in a year’s time.