Netanyahu Calls On Chief Rival To Form Unity Govt

The Jerusalem Post reports:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on his chief electoral rival Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz to hold talks toward the creation of a unity government, during a speech he gave at the memorial ceremony for former Israeli president Shimon Peres.

“I propose that we meet as soon as possible without preconditions to cooperate in establishing a broad unity government for all those who believe in Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” Netanyahu said. “There is no reason to go to another election. I am against it.”

Netanyahu’s statement about the Peres-Shamir cooperation was seen as a reference to a possible rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office. Peres and Shamir rotated as prime ministers in the 11th Knesset, from 1984 to 1988.

The Times Of Israel reports:

The leaders of all the parties in the right-wing religious bloc on Thursday signed a document pledging to recommend Benjamin Netanyahu as the next prime minister and vowing to enter a coalition only as a single unit, as the premier called on Blue and White chief Benny Gantz to join a “unity government” that includes those parties.

Blue and White rejected the offer as “spin,” noted that Gantz’s party was ahead of Likud in the non-final election count, and accused Netanyahu of seeking to blame Blue and White as he seeks the eventual recourse of a third round of elections.

With almost all votes counted, the Orthodox/right-wing bloc led by Netanyahu has 55 seats, the centrist/left bloc led by Gantz has 44, and Yisrael Beytenu’s Avigdor Liberman holds the balance of power with eight. The predominantly Arab Joint List, which has not said whether it will actively back Gantz, has 13 seats.