N.Y Time: June 24, 2021 11:19 pm

Anti-Netanyahu bloc initiates talks to form coalition

Anti-Netanyahu bloc initiates talks to form coalition

Multiple meetings between the leadership of all of Israel’s parties have occurred since Israel’s Tuesday election as the various party heads discuss possible coalitions for Israel’s next government.

Yamina head Naftali Bennett said on Friday that he spoke with the heads of Labor, Likud, United Torah Judaism, Shas, Likud, Religious Zionism, New Hope, Yesh Atid, Blue and White, Meretz and Yisrael Beytenu in the past two days.

In talks, Bennett emphasized the need to “act responsibly to bring Israel out of chaos.”

Opposition leader and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman met on Friday to discuss the option of forming a government and agreed to meet again soon.

Lapid has also met or spoken with the heads of Labor, New Hope and Meretz since the election and will be meeting in upcoming days with the heads of Blue and White, the Joint List and Ra’am in an effort to build up what MKs in those parties are calling “the change bloc.”

Also expressing a desire for change, New Hope head Gideon Sa’ar tweeted saying that  “for the fourth time in two years Netanyahu has failed to achieve a majority of 61 in the Knesset.

“Without Netanyahu, it is possible to quickly and easily form a government. If Israel is more important to Netanyahu than his continued hold on control, he must finally conclude the patriotic conclusion. I call on Netanyahu: move aside, free Israel and allow the country to move forward.”

In a move some found surprising, Lapid retweeted Sa’ar’s message, adding “listen to Gideon.”

“There are meetings and discussions between everyone who is committed to change,” said Gantz in a video Friday. “There is no question of ego, until we change the leadership, until we replace Netanyahu, I will guard Israel from outside [the country] and I will guard Israel’s democracy and safety from inside the government.”

Rumors have circulated this week of a possible “national healing government” comprising the 52 mandates of Yesh Atid (17 seats), Blue and White (8), Yamina, Yisrael Beytenu and Labor (7 seats each) and New Hope (6) with outside support from the Arab parties (10) and Meretz (6) for an effective coalition of 68 seats. This coalition would be led by Bennett and Lapid who would rotate, and last for one year, Israeli media reported.

Even without the Arab Joint List (6), there would still be a 62-seat coalition, with Meretz and Ra’am (4), the other Arab party that split from the Joint List and barely made it into the Knesset, supporting from the outside.