The Kulanu party over the weekend hit out at the newly formed Blue and White party, with top officials saying Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s alliance had no clear policy positions.
“I’ll tell you entirely openly, I don’t know where the blue is or where the white is,” party leader Moshe Kahlon, the finance minister, said Friday. “I don’t know if they’re for the banks or for the public, I don’t know if they’re for contractors or for young couples. There’s complete confusion there.”
Kulanu, a member of the ruling coalition, has been hovering at around five projected Knesset seats in recent polls, and its leadership is reportedly concerned that it could lose supporters to the new centrist party.
Housing Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton, number three on Kulanu’s slate, made similar comments Saturday.
“I don’t know yet who Blue and White are, what they believe, what their policies are — are they blue or white? What are their plans for the public if they have any,” Shasha-Biton said at a cultural event in Acre.
“A political platform can not amount to ‘Bring down Bibi,'” she added, using Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nickname. “The day after the election there is a public that must be fought for and served.”
However, in possible reference to the premier and Kulanu’s loyalties following the election, Shasha-Biton stressed: “We’re not in anyone’s pocket. We are obligated to the public only.”
Gantz’s Israel Resilience party formed an alliance with Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid Thursday ahead of national elections slated for April 9. It is now leading polls with around 35-36 projected seats to Likud’s 30-32. However, even if it comes in first in the national vote, it is not clear Gantz and Lapid could build a 61 seat majority in the 120-seat Knesset.
Earlier, former defense minister and head of the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party Avigdor Liberman ruled out the option of sitting in a government led by Gantz.
“Benny Gantz has as much chance of forming a government as [Arab-Israeli MK and head of Ta’al] Ahmad Tibi,” Liberman said Saturday at a cultural event in Hadera.
Gantz and Lapid welcomed former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi into the union, which already includes another ex-army chief, defense minister, and Likud member, Moshe Ya’alon, who leads the Telem party. The inclusion of three IDF generals and ex-military heads at the top of the alliance has been a major point in political commentary and a source of dark humor on social media.
“The generals’ vehicle has fuel until the elections,” Liberman predicted. “Then, it falls apart. There is just no chance I will be joining a government headed by Gantz.”
Liberman quit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government last November amid accusations the premier was weak on security matters following a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The deal came after a round of violence that threatened to break into all-out war.
Liberman has presented himself as a hawk and a tough guy, painting Netanyahu as a “confused and capitulating” leader whose government has caved to terror.
But the election campaign sees Yisrael Beytenu fighting to stay in Knesset, with polls predicting the party hovering just above the electoral threshold.