Blue&White senior officials have admitted in closed meetings that they do not have the necessary votes to form a minority government with outside support from the Joint Arab List, Reshet Bet radio reported Sunday morning.
According to those officials, two Blue&White MKs: Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser, will not agree to support such a government, and as a result the party will not have the necessary 61 votes in the Knesset to approve the move.
Yoaz Hendel served as Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu between 2011 and 2012; Zvi Hauser served as Netanyahu’s Cabinet Secretary between 2009 and 2013.
The same Reshet bet report noted that Blue&White co-leader Gabi Ashkenazi supports a unity government with Netanyahu instead of the parliamentary coup d’état that was dreamed up by Yair Lapid and Avigdor Liberman. Other Blue&White MKs who are reluctant to go to a minority government that relies on Arab support are Orit Farkash Cohen and Hili Tropper.
The party—especially MK Yair Lapid, the most enthusiastic supporter of the plan—is expected to exert heavy pressure on Hendel and Hauser to toe the line. The two MKs, affiliated with former DM Moshe Ya’alon, were the main obstacle following the September 2019 election to their party leaders’ attempt to establish a minority government with support from the Joint Arab List.
Meanwhile, the Joint Arab List has yet to receive the phone call from Benny Gantz inviting them to talk. List MKs will debate on Sunday whether or not to recommend Gantz to President Reuven Rivlin to form a government. They will also debate whether they should support Liberman-Lapid rumored bill preventing an MK who is under a criminal indictment from forming a government.
The Joint Arab List is split over recommending Gantz in order to get rid of Netanyahu or not recommending Gantz, even at the cost of Netanyahu forming the next government.
The List is not expecting to reach a decision on Sunday, especially in light of the fact that Blue&White has yet to contact them officially to solicit their recommendation to the president. Many in the Joint List are bitter about Blue&White’s election campaign that stressed no collaboration with the Arab parties. They intend to condition their support on Gantz’s public commitment to pro-Arab and pro-Palestinian civil and political legislation, most notably revoking the Kaminitz Law which allows tough measures against illegal construction in the Arab sector.