Sixty-one MKs morning have recommended to President Reuven Rivlin by Tuesday morning to assign Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next government.
In the round of meetings with the president that began on Monday, the Likud, Shas and United Torah Judaism recommended Netanyahu to the post, while Kachol Lavan recommended Benny Gantz and Arab faction Hadash-Ta’al did not recommend any of the candidates. On Tuesday morning, the Labor Party recommended Gantz to the post, as did Meretz. Representatives of Yisrael Beiteinu and the Right-Wing Union recommended Netanyahu, as Kulanu is expected to do. Ra’am-Balad, the other Arab faction, is also expected not to recommend anyone.
Yisrael Beiteinu’s Evgeny Sova and Yulia Malinovsky recommended Netanyahu but told the president, “We are in a very complex situation, it is our duty to maintain the delicate balance between religion and state in our time. We see it as our duty to be a defender of the secular public in the State of Israel, while respecting the religious community, of course.”
Malinovsky stressed that “Unity of the people, hugging, sympathy for one another is what’s important, otherwise we will have fights inside the family.”
Sova and Malinovsky were referring to their party’s dispute with the Haredi parties over drafting Haredi youths into the IDF, as well as the halachic status of non-Jewish Russian immigrants.
Co-chairmen of the Rightwing Union Rabbi Rafi Peretz and MK Bezalel Smotrich also gave their support to Netanyahu, and Smotrich responded to Rivlin’s demand for a Netanyahu-Gantz unity government by saying, “The Israeli public wanted to see a right-wing government in the next term, and so it should be,” Smotrich said. He stressed that a unity government at this time “will not reflect the will of the people.”