Bibi Calls on Gantz to Form National Unity Government

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After the second heated campaign and election in Israel this year, the Jewish state’s longtime prime minister is looking for national unity. Israel Hayom reports that PM Netanyahu spoke with his rival Benny Gantz today, saying, “The nation expects us, both of us, to demonstrate responsibility and that we pursue cooperation”:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday morning there was no chance he could form a right-wing government after Israel’s deadlocked election and called on his main rival, Blue and White Leader Benny Gantz, to join him in a broad, unity coalition.

Netanyahu and Gantz were later seen shaking hands, together with President Reuven Rivlin, at a memorial service for Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem.

“During the election campaign, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government but to my regret, the election results show that this is impossible,” Netanyahu said in a video recorded message.

“Benny, we must set up a broad unity government, as soon as today. The nation expects us, both of us, to demonstrate responsibility and that we pursue cooperation. Benny, let’s meet today, any hour, and time, to move this initiative forward; it is the order of the day. We must not and have no reason to go to a third election – which I’m against,” he added.

Speaking at the memorial ceremony, Netanyahu noted that Peres, the late left-wing statesman, had forged a coalition with then-Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir in which they rotated top office between 1984 and 1988.

“When there was no clear victory in Knesset elections, Shimon opted for national unity. He and Yitzhak Shamir agreed to cooperate in order to navigate Israel to a safe shore,” Netanyahu said. “In this election, too, there is no clear winner. And I call on you, Benny … Let us work together to again bring the State of Israel to safe shores.”

Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu Benny Gantz Elections Israel Israel Hayom politics Reuven Rivlin

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