A senior coalition lawmaker wants Benny Gantz’s National Unity party to join the coalition to “balance” it, a report said on Thursday.
Moshe Gafni, No. 2 in the United Torah Judaism party and leader of its Degel HaTorah faction, with Gantz recently as part of efforts to reach an agreement on acceptable judicial reforms, public broadcaster Kan reported, citing unnamed officials familiar with the matter. of the meeting.
Dialogue was launched this week between the coalition and opposition parties after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a time limit on the government’s highly divisive push to radically overhaul the justice system.
During the meeting, the report said, Gafni conveyed the message that he would like to see Gantz and his central party in the coalition to balance it out – a likely reference to the Otzma Yehudit and Religious Religion coalition parties.
The report said Gantz had recently received other messages from coalition officials who felt he had no choice but to join the ranks of what is currently widely regarded as the most right-wing government in Israel’s history.
Although the efforts were expected to continue, Gantz has so far rejected them, likely burning Netanyahu in the past when the two formed a short-term unity government in 2020.
Gantz, who ran in three consecutive deadlocked elections as the main contender to replace Netanyahu, ended a centrist election promise and joined a government under Netanyahu, who promised to make Gantz prime minister halfway through the term.
The chief executive, willing to hand over the Premiership, ended up taking advantage of a loophole in their coalition agreement by refusing to pass a state budget, which failure to pass by a certain deadline automatically puts the government at risk. Rather than wait for that to happen, Gantz quit the government and called elections on his own.
That history made him wary of joining Netanyahu’s government, but his party is nevertheless seen as the most pragmatic of the opposition and the most willing to engage in dialogue with the coalition.
Gantz’s office refused to confirm or deny the report, telling Kan that he “has contacts with many Knesset members in the coalition and the opposition, especially in the recent period to stop the threat of the coup regime and civil war in Israeli society. Moreover, we do not comment on the content of Gantz’s personal meetings.”