Israeli Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz plans to tell Benjamin Netanyahu that he wants a political “divorce” and that the partnership between Blue and White and Likud is over, The Jerusalem Post has reported, citing a source close to Gantz.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday Gantz hinted that time was “running out” to resolve the long-running budget dispute between the two coalition partners, and that the country was “really on the verge” of the need for new elections.
“We joined the government to prevent elections during a crisis. To avoid elections, a budget and functional government are needed. If these conditions are met, elections will not be needed. If these conditions are not met, apparently yes, we will need them,” he stressed.
Gantz and Netanyahu reportedly ignored one another on Tuesday during a Knesset meeting on Israel’s recently approved deal about the normalization of relations with Bahrain. In his remarks to the Knesset plenum, Gantz told lawmakers that although Israel was “talking loftily about peace with countries in our region,” it was now “time to talk about peace among ourselves.”
Taking aim at Netanyahu specifically, the defense minister said that he had ‘extended his hand’ to Likud and agreed to a unity government “to fight COVID-19 and avoid the risk of a civil war”.
“I joined you as a partner in the battle for the health, lives, and livelihoods of the citizens of Israel, and not as a partner in an economic and social crime against them,” Gantz said.