Photo Credit: Haim Zach / GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Blue & White leader Benny Gantz during unity government talks at the official Presidential Residence in Jerusalem, Sept. 23 2019

President Reuven Rivlin reportedly ordered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud party, and Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White party, to shake hands together for a photo during unity government talks held at his official presidential residence on Monday night.

The meeting began more than 90 minutes later than originally scheduled, and it was still continuing at 9:15 pm.


In addition to the two party leaders, negotiating teams from both parties were at the residence as well.

Israeli media reported that Rivlin said he does not intend to give either of the two leaders the mandate to begin to form a coalition inasmuch as neither of them has gathered enough apparently support to be able to form a government on his own.

The only way forward, he said, is to form a unity government from the outset.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.