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TV says Netanyahu and Gantz talking of coalition partnership; both deny it

Representatives of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader and Defense Minister Benny Gantz are discussing a possible coalition partnership, to take shape after the conflict is over, and when Yesh Atid Yair Lapid’s mandate to form a government ends on June 2, Channel 12 claims.

The two, whose coalition collapsed last December, prompting March 23’s inconclusive election, have been overseeing the IDF battle against Hamas this past week.

Netanyahu is interested in pursuing this option only if he cannot see a path to retaining power via a bid for direct election of the prime minister.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a consultation amid Hamas rocket fire at Israel and IDF counterstrikes, May 11, 2021 (Amos Ben Gersom / GPO)

The proposal being discussed would see Gantz serving as PM for 18 months, before handing over to Netanyahu. Netanyahu would serve as alternate PM and foreign minister for the first 18 months, and stay at the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem, the report claims.

The discussions are complicated by many issues, including Netanyahu’s desire to retain control of key ministries and appointments that could relate to his trial, and Gantz’s demand for ministerial representation far greater than his eight-seat Blue and White would otherwise merit, the report says.

The PMO is quoted rejecting the report as untrue. Blue and White sources tell Channel 12 Gantz won’t partner Netanyahu “even if he promises the moon.”

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