In his latest efforts to prevent Blue and White chair Benny Gantz from forming a minority government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held an “emergency meeting” on Monday of the 55-member bloc comprising his Likud party and other right-wing and religious parties that have vowed to support him as prime minister.
While Netanyahu has held numerous meetings with the leaders of the alliance, Monday’s was the first attended by every MK belonging to the parties in the bloc: Likud, Jewish Home-National Union, New Right, Shas and UTJ, which he said represented the whole of Israeli society.
Repeating many of the statements he has made over recent days slamming the prospect of a minority government supported by the predominantly Arab Joint List party, Netanyahu told his fellow lawmakers that such a government would be “a real danger to Israel to the people of Israel.”
“We have met here for an emergency meeting because this is an emergency,” an emphatic Netanyahu told the assembled MKs in a crowded Knesset room. “Represented here are all parts of Israeli society because this is a fateful moment in the history of the State of Israel. There is a possibility that within 48 hours a government will be formed with terror supporters.”
On Sunday evening, Netanyahu’s Likud party organized an “emergency rally” that was similarly aimed aimed at “stopping the dangerous minority government that is reliant on terror supporters.”
There, the premier accused members of the Joint List of seeking to “destroy the country.” He claimed, without proof, that the Arab MKs support the Gaza terror organizations that Israel fought against last week.
On Monday Netanyahu said that a minority government would be “a real danger to the people of Israel. We are talking about MKs who support terror, want to put soldiers on trial and have called for the destruction of Israel.”
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, speaking after Netanyahu, said that a minority government supported by the Joint List would have blocked last week’s military campaign against the Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza.
“If there was a minority government supported by counteragents of Israel last week, the 22 members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad we killed would still be alive,” Bennett claimed.
Gantz has until Wednesday to clinch a coalition, after which Knesset members have a further 21 days to choose a candidate to be given the mandate or decide to head back to elections — the third in less than a year.
According to Netanyahu, Gantz is “moving decidedly forward toward a government supported by terror.”
“I told them to stop. I hoped they would. But they haven’t. They are saying it will just be a transitional government. I say we can’t have this for even one day. People don’t even understand how dangerous it is,” Netanyahu chided, adding that “a minority government will be supported by Hamas and Iran. They will celebrate in Gaza and Ramallah and Tehran.”