Ahead of New Israeli Election, Gantz Rules Out Joint Run With Labor Party

Kahol Lavan chairman refused to confirm or deny reports that his party is considering an alliance with Zionist Union's Tzipi Livni or ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak

Benny Gantz at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on May 27, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi

Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz said Monday that he does not see a need for a political merger with Israel's Labor Party.

"We're starting the election campaign now and we don't see a need for any additions," he said in a party meeting.

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Gantz made the comment after Labor Chairman Avi Gabbay said over the weekend that his party should run on a joint slate with either Kahol Lavan or left-wing party Meretz.

Gantz also addressed speculations that his party would reach out to former Zionist Union leader Tzipi Livni or ex-Prime Minister Ehud Barak, but refused to confirm such reports: "We will know when to call on the right people to join us."

Gantz touched on reports of tensions within the party. "There is friendship and partnership," he said. He also acknowledged that party co-leader Yair Lapid paid a political price for joining forces with him. His comment comes after he and Lapid announced Sunday that their agreement to share the premiership among them will remain intact in the upcoming election, slated for September 17.

Ultra-Orthodox politicians, notably Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, said they are not willing to be in a coalition with Kahol Lavan as long as the rotation agreement enabling Lapid to become prime minister stands. 

In another development, Tal Rousso, who is No. 2 on the Labor Party slate, announced on Monday that he is considering running for chairman of the party and forgoing the No.2 spot that was reserved for him in February on the party's ticket.