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Israel’s Gantz ready to do whatever it takes to topple Netanyahu

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz is now ready to do whatever it takes to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, including going back on his promise not to establish a government backed by the Arab Joint List.
Benny Gantz, head of Blue and White party, gives a statement to the media in Ramat Gan, Israel March 1, 2020. REUTERS/Nir Elias - RC20BF95LO81

Lt. Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz has probably never faced as painful and cruel a dilemma in his entire four decades in uniform and as Israel’s top soldier as he is now confronting as leader of the Blue and White party. The March 2 election results maneuvered Israeli politics into the most complicated situation possible: On the one hand, a clear victory for the Likud on the party level (36 Knesset seats for the Likud compared with 33 for Blue and White). On the other, a no less clear victory for Blue and White on the coalition map (62 Knesset seats for the center-left bloc compared with 58 for the right-wing, ultra-Orthodox bloc). An impressive electoral victory for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in personal terms, but failure of his truly important mission — sufficient votes for a narrow government comprised of his political base of right-wing, ultra-Orthodox parties. Netanyahu desperately needs his own government for him to continue serving as prime minister throughout his trial.

Gantz has already made his historic strategic decision. He made that decision shortly after the publication of the March 2 election results, which showed that Blue and White could form a minority government if at least 12 of the 15 newly elected lawmakers of the Arab Joint List were to vote in its favor. Gantz decided to forge ahead with this move, no matter the cost. Yisrael Beitenu leader, the hawkish Avigdor Liberman, offered his silent support.

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