Tasked With Forming Israel's Next Government, Gantz Prepares for Marathon Coalition Talks

Kahol Lavan chairman reportedly not working toward minority government and plans to meet with the heads of all parties

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Benny Gantz speaks during a press conference on October 23, 2019.
Benny Gantz speaks during a press conference on October 23, 2019.Credit: GALI TIBBON / AFP

The day after Kahol Lavan chairman MK Benny Gantz was tasked by the president to form a government, the party was preparing for marathon coalition talks, to begin on Sunday.

Gantz is reportedly not working toward establishing a minority government with either the ultra-Orthodox or the largely Arab Joint List, and is continuing to try to bring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the table. Likud has confirmed that its negotiating team will meet with Kahol Lavan; however, Benjamin Netanyahu himself has not yet responded to Gantz on whether he will meet with him personally.

In addition to the team’s official meetings, Gantz will meet personally with the heads of the parties. At the moment, Kahol Lavan understands that its chances of establishing a government now are not great, and is trying to take advantage of the 28 days the party has for that purpose to change public opinion and place the blame for the lack of progress on Netanyahu. Kahol Lavan is said to be encouraged by a Channel 13 survey which showed that more Israelis consider Netanyahu to blame for the crisis than Gantz, and the party would like to widen the gap.

The Joint List’s members are reiterating the message that President Reuven Rivlin’s plan for a rotating premiership between Gantz and Netanyahu is no longer relevant now that Gantz has been tasked with forming a government. The Joint List says that since Gantz is the head of the larger party, he should be first in the rotation. Kahol Lavan’s negotiating team, announced after the election, is headed by attorney Yoram Turbowitz.