Channel 12’s political pundits say Gantz’s address indicates that he must believe a deal with Netanyahu on a unity government is close at hand, or he is naive — because he chose not to issue any threats against the prime minister.
Political reporter Daphna Liel notes that Gantz also did not accuse Netanyahu of cynically exploiting the coronavirus crisis or castigate him for walking back the agreement he says they had reached a few days ago.
Analyst Amnon Abramovich says Gantz chose not to specify that what has prevented a deal so far is Netanyahu’s concern that the High Court may intervene and bar him from starting a new term as prime minister, as he has been indicted on corruption charges, and is therefore trying to engineer some kind of legislative guarantee that Gantz would not take over as prime minister in the event of such a court ruling.
And analyst Amit Segal notes that Gantz chose not to unleash a threat to try to pass legislation in the Knesset that would disqualify Netanyahu as prime minister because of the charges. “It was not an aggressive speech; it was a defensive speech,” says Segal. Gantz essentially appealed to Netanyahu to partner with him, he adds. “It’s all up to Netanyahu now.”
If a deal is not sealed by midnight, President Reuven Rivlin has said that he will tell the Knesset that no candidate has a potential majority. The Knesset would then have 21 days to choose a candidate who can muster a majority, and if not, Israel would again head to elections.
Netanyahu may opt to seal a deal with Gantz tonight, or try to woo a couple of defectors to his right-wing / Orthodox bloc in the next three weeks to reach a 61-strong coalition, or opt for elections this summer — a fourth round in barely 16 months.