Netanyahu offers Lapid, Gantz to join him in emergency unity government

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Yair Lapid (L), Benny Gantz (C) and Benjamin Netanyahu (R) (Flash90)
Yair Lapid (L), Benny Gantz (C) and Benjamin Netanyahu (R) (Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposes that opposition parties Yesh Atid and National Unity enter an emergency government following Hamas’s devastating surprise attack Saturday morning.

Netanyahu makes the offer during a meeting with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and National Unity party leader Benny Gantz held earlier today, saying such a government would be the same in format as the Levi Eshkol government then-opposition leader Menachem Begin joined before the Six Day War in 1967.

Gantz says he is considering entering such a government for the duration of the war but insists that government would “deal with security challenges alone” and in a manner that would allow “substantive partnership and influence over decision-making in relevant forums” for his party.

The National Unity party leader tells Netanyahu that regardless, the current government will receive full backing “for any responsible and determined security action.”

Lapid said earlier this evening that he would join “a reduced, professional, emergency government” and says it would be impossible to manage a war with “the extreme and dysfunctional composition of the current cabinet,” essentially calling on the prime minister to remove the far-right Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties from the government in order for him to bring his Yesh Atid party into the coalition.

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