Efforts to form a centrist electoral alliance between rising star Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid that could challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud have reportedly hit a snag.
With the former military chief Gantz climbing in the polls following his inaugural campaign speech, a survey aired by Israeli television last week indicated a tie-up with Lapid could beat Likud in April’s Knesset elections with Gantz at the helm.
While a Yesh Atid lawmaker confirmed over the weekend that the party is holding talks with Israel Resilience, Lapid has not indicated he would be willing to be number two to Gantz, despite the same Channel 12 poll saying an alliance under Lapid’s leadership would not defeat Likud.
According to a Channel 13 report Tuesday, Lapid is not willing to discuss a joint leadership in the form of a rotation that would see the two leaders alternating in the chairman position.
Quoting an unnamed source familiar with the discussions, the network said that even if the leadership issue is settled, the parties are likely to spar over the makeup of the Knesset slate.
Members of Lapid’s party have reportedly pointed to a generous agreement Gantz has made with former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon’s Telem, a party that wasn’t predicted to enter the Knesset had it run independently, and are demanding a similarly generous agreement.
Earlier Tuesday, former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who both Israel Resilience and Yesh Atid are reported to be courting, said he was working to forge an alliance between the two centrist parties.
“This is what we need at the moment,” he told a group of activists outside his home.
Ashkenazi also said he would make a decision in the coming days on whether he will enter politics before the April 9 vote.
Amid the efforts to form an Israel Resilience-Yesh Atid alliance, rumors have abounded of potential mergers between smaller parties on both the left and the right, while previous talk of a merger of ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties appears to have been quashed for now.