Gantz intent on unity
November 1, 2019
JERUSALEM (JTA)-Benny Gantz said Wednesday that he will aim to form a unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party to "repair the divisions in our society."
"I promised I would form a liberal unity government and that is what I intend to do," Gantz said.
The Blue and White party leader made the remarks after being officially tasked by President Reuven Rivlin with forming a government.
After accepting the mandate at Rivlin's official residence in Jerusalem, Gantz commented, "I will invite all the parties that are represented in the Knesset, even those who will not be in the government. I will first turn to the Likud and to its head Netanyahu and offer for him to be part of that government," Times of Israel reported.
Gantz, a lifelong military man, has presented himself as a practical leader who can bridge Israel's many divisions and address the various security threats it faces.
Gantz presents himself as a more trustworthy alternative to the Netanyahu, and may hope to evoke past generals who became statesmen, including Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon.
But he faces steep odds in every possible path to forming a government. He has been endorsed by just 54 lawmakers representing an array of parties that are unlikely to sit together in a coalition.
In remarks directed at Netanyahu, Gantz said: "We've known each other for many years and I see you as an Israeli patriot. Together with you and the good people in Likud, we have the responsibility to conduct a respectful, ethical conversation for the sake of all those who wish to form a government in Israel."
In the wake of Netanyahu's recent failure, Gantz will have 28 days to form a government coalition. If the former military chief of staff fails, Knesset members have 21 days to advise Rivlin of their support for another lawmaker to form a government, and Rivlin could task a third person with the mandate.
If that fails, Israel will go to a national election in March-its third vote in less than a year.