The rightwing top negotiator, Minister Yariv Levin (Likud), told Reshet Bet radio Monday morning that the Blue&White party is still hoping to form a minority government with support from outside the coalition by the Joint Arab List, and that it is “still fooling around over there with the ludicrous idea of forming a dangerous government.”
Levin described his Sunday meeting with representatives of the Blue&White negotiating team, and said: “I asked at the beginning of the meeting whether the negotiations we are currently conducting are genuine or a cover for other negotiations that are underway with Ayman Odeh and the Joint List to form a minority government that relies on the Arab parties. I was told explicitly that they keep all their options open, and do not rule out that option.”
Regarding the possibility that a minority government would be established and the Likud would have to be in the opposition, Levin said: “We live in a democratic country, so if such a thing happens we would definitely go to the opposition. I am also convinced that we would topple such a government very quickly.”
“When Blue&White campaigned before the election, they kept trying to argue that they were not cooperating with the Joint List,” he noted.
Levin stressed the need for a unity government according to the president’s outline (rotation, Bibi goes first, Gantz takes over when Bibi takes leave of absence to face corruption charges – DI), which would include the full rightwing bloc.
“If you really want to establish a unity government, it should be a unity government in the broad sense,” he argued. “Unity includes everyone, it does not leave out those who wear yarmulkes or those who don’t. Once Blue&White realize that all these fantasies about breaking up the rightwing bear no feasibility, then there will be a genuine opening for substantial, serious talks, and perhaps for the establishment of a broad government, which I believe is a vital need.”
Levin went on to say that while the Likud and its partners are ready for two significant concessions in favor of the success of the negotiations, Blue&White refuses to move from its positions: “One is that the government would be equitable – that is, the quorum of ministers the Likud would receive would be lower, because of the distribution of portfolios to our partners, so that Blue&White would have more ministers than the Likud. I think this is a very far-reaching political concession. The second compromise is that although the law allows the prime minister to serve until there is a final ruling (in his case in court), we would permit enacting a specific law on a particular person—the Prime Minister, and in fact significantly shorten his term.”
“Regardless of these two concessions, there is no shift in the Blue&White attitudes,” Levin said.
Responding to the accusation that Likud also negotiated with the Arab parties when it suited its interests, Levin said: “It is time to disprove this lie – we did not act in any coordination or any negotiation with the Joint List in going to early elections. The decision of the Arab lists to vote in favor of early elections was strictly their own.”
Levin added that “there is a difference between forming a government that relies on the Joint List in determining the defense budget and the State of Israel’s security policy, and a vote on the nomination of a particular candidate.”