Tikvah Hadasha Party leader Gideon Sa’ar has officially rejected a proposal by Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join a coalition that would see Sa’ar serving first in a triple rotation for the top spot.
Under the proposal, Sa’ar would serve 15 months, then Netanyahu would serve two years, and Yamina Party leader Naftali Bennett would complete the rotation with a 15-month term.
Bennett accepted the deal, but Sa’ar did not and posted a tweet shortly after 10 am Sunday that said, “Our position and commitment was and remains: to change the Netanyahu regime. We will continue to act accordingly. Warm recommendation for the next few days: Ignore the spins.”
Appeal from Right-Wing Bloc
The leaders of the right-wing bloc signed an appeal to both Sa’ar and Bennett in a last-ditch effort to prevent the formation of a left-wing government. The text of the letter follows:
“Out of a willingness to put aside any personal considerations and out of a willingness to take unprecedented and far-reaching steps to ensure the security and character of the State of Israel, in a last-ditch attempt to prevent a left-wing government from endangering the country, we, the right-wing faction leaders and MK Naftali Bennett make the following proposal:
1 – A right-wing government is formed.
2 – MK Gideon Sa’ar will serve as prime minister from the 36th government swearing-in period, and for one year and three months.
The Knesset members of our factions will sign the document required by the president to allow MK Saar to form the government.
3 – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will serve as Prime Minister from the end of the term of office of MK Saar specified in section 2, for a period of two years.
4 – MK Naftali Bennett will serve as Prime Minister for the remainder of the term of office of the Government from the end of the term of Prime Minister Netanyahu as specified in section 3 above.
5 – The privacy clause will be repealed.
6 – The Minister of Justice shall be appointed by agreement.”
The letter was signed by Moshe Gafni, Arye Deri, Bezalel Smotrich and Netanyahu.
Sa’ar, Lapid to Meet Sunday
Sa’ar is to meet Sunday with Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid in a renewed effort to finalize a coalition deal for a unity government – without Netanyahu.
If such a government is to be formed, it will include all of Israel’s farthest-left parties – a point that Bennett had previously said would stop him from participating.
According to a report by Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster, Bennett was to tell his Yamina faction that he is giving his co-leader Ayelet Shaked – and Netanyahu – until 10 pm Sunday night to find a way to form a right-wing government, either by attracting a different participant or by convincing Sa’ar to abandon Lapid.
If that effort fails, said Bennett, he will join a “government of change” by Monday, when final deals with the Lapid coalition are to be signed and submitted to the Knesset.
Those Yamina MKs and any other members of the party who oppose building a center-left government with Lapid will be asked to resign Monday, according to The Jerusalem Post, so their spot can be filled by a candidate who favors the Lapid coalition.
Without those resignations, Lapid may also fail to form a government, since he needs six out of the seven Yamina candidates in order to meet the 61-mandate majority requirement.
A Lapid government would include the far-left Meretz Party and Yisrael Beytenu Party. It would also include the leftist Labor Party and the centrist Blue & White Party. In addition, Lapid would need to include either the Islamist Ra’am Party or the Joint Arab List in order to reach a majority.
But it’s not over yet. Sa’ar has one more week in which he can complete negotiations for a new government, or to fail.