Israeli President Revives Plan for Joint Netanyahu-Gantz Government

'There are no half-citizens,' Rivlin says in a jab aimed at Netanyahu as he received official election results

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
Israeli president Reuven Rivlin receives official election results from Central Elections Committee head Justice Neal Hendel, in Jerusalem March 11 2020
Israeli president Reuven Rivlin receives official election results from Central Elections Committee head Justice Neal Hendel, in Jerusalem March 11 2020Credit: Mark Neiman / GPO
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin received on Wednesday the official election results, declaring that his plan for forming a government composed of both Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz's parties still stands.

Bibi limps to election 'victory.' But he didn't winCredit: Haaretz Weekly Podcast

Rivlin also asserted that "there are no half-citizens in Israel" – a jab aimed at Netanyahu, who last week charted his majority among "Zionist" voters and crossed off half a million of Arab Israelis.

According to Rivlin’s plan, the government would be formed with blocs of equal size, in which the powers of the deputy prime minister would be expanded if the sitting prime minister were to become incapacitated, as Netanyahu's trial in three corruption cases begins.

The president said he was aware of the pushback his framework drew in the aftermath of the last election. "I agree with most of [the criticism]," he said, "and yet I thought there was no other way. It seems that the situation has not changed much."

Meanwhile, Gantz is slated to meet later on Wednesday with the leaders of the Arab Joint List, including the Balad faction. The party is considering backing Gantz as their prime ministerial candidate.

Gantz's efforts to form a government, however, were dealt a blow on Tuesday when Gesher party head Orli Levi-Abekasis, who ran on a joint ticket with the left-wing Labor and Meretz parties, announced that she would not support any government reliant on the Arab-majority Joint List.

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