Senior Likud Minister Says Netanyahu Would Agree to a Unity Government With Gantz

Tzachi Hanegbi says he has 'no doubt' the premier would agree to a coalition with Kahol Lavan, but Likud brushes off his comments

Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi during a Likud meeting in Jerusalem, May 28, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi

Minister of Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi called on Saturday for the establishment of a unity government that would merge between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party and the Kahol Lavan political alliance, headed by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid.

Hanegbi also said that he was convinced Netanyahu would agree to such a move. 

Speaking to Channel 12's "Meet the Press," Hanegbi said that Kahol Lavan leaders were wrong in deciding they wouldn't join a Netanyahu-led government. "The ruled Bibi out because they thought it would lead to a change within the Likud, they didn't understand how the Likud works," he claimed.

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He suggested that Gantz should change his stance. If the former Israeli army general agrees to join a Netanyahu government, "we would have a unity government with impressive achievements," the Likud minister said. Asked whether Netanyahu would really accept such a move, he answered: "I have no doubt about it." 

Following the interview, Likud stated that "Minister Hanegbi made the statements on his own accord. The Likud and the prime minister want to establish a strong right-wing government led by a large Likud and headed by Netanyahu, like the people of Israel have chosen." 

Also Saturday, Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liebrman reiterated his accusations against Netanyahu in an interview for Channel 12 News, saying that he is to blame for the failure in negotiation talks that concluded this week with the Israeli Knesset's vote to dissolve itself and the decision to head to a new election on September 17. 

Lieberman said that he would support a right-wing government and that he does not care who stands at its helm, but clarified that his party won't back down from its demand to promote the draft bill in its current draft. 

The bill, which would force ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students to draft into the Israeli military, was the topic of a heated dispute that brought the coalition talks to a deadlock.