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Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu

After Netanyahu fails to form coalition, task falls to his bitter rival Gantz

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced he cannot muster the votes to form a coalition and returned the mandate to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Now, Blue and White party leader and former military chief Benny Gantz will attempt to form a government on Wednesday.

Gantz, who is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival, will try to form a government coalition after Netanyahu announced Monday that he is unable to do so.

Netanyahu fell short of securing a 61-seat parliamentary majority after last month’s election. Rivlin tapped Netanyahu to form a government first because he had more support among Knesset lawmakers – 55 seats – while Gantz could only muster 54.

That Gantz total drops to just 42 seats without the Joint List, a coalition of Arab-Israeli parties that opposes Israel and has never been part of the government. The concern is that if the Arab-Israeli party becomes part of the government, they would then have access to Israel’s classified military defense plans and some question whether they would share it with Israel’s enemies.

Netanyahu said he had worked “tirelessly” to establish a unity government with Gantz, but said Gantz rejected his attempts.

Blue and White said Monday it will build the “liberal unity government, led by Benny Gantz, that the people of Israel voted for.”

However, Gantz’s task will be an uphill battle.

Gantz has expressed a willingness to form a government with Netanyahu, but not if Netanyahu continues to lead Likud while battling serious corruption charges.

Likud shows no signs of abandoning Netanyahu.

Gantz will have a hard time forming a government coalition without Likud and if he fails, a majority of lawmakers will vote to endorse a third candidate to form a government.

If that fails, Israel will be forced into a third election.

Metro Voice publishers Dwight and Anita Widaman will attend a media summit in Israel during November with Rivlin and Netanyahu.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice