Liberman Expected to Play Kingmaker, Expected to Back Gantz

Speculation soon began that Liberman would recommend that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz be tasked with forming a new government. If Liberman backs Gantz, the latter could receive more recommendations as a result. Reported by The Times of Israel (03/05/20). Read more…

Liberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu, announced that it would support legislation barring Netanyahu from forming the next government. Blue and White, Labor-Gesher-Meretz, and the Arab Joint List have all said they would back the legislation, ensuring a majority. Reported by The Times of Israel (03/05/20). Read more…

Benjamin Netanyahu accused Gantz of “trying to steal the election.” Netanyahu told a meeting of right-wing factions that support him, “The people’s will is clear. The national Zionist camp includes 58 seats. The leftist Zionist camp includes 47 seats.” He also said that “The Joint List, which attacks our soldiers and opposes the State of Israel, is not part of the equation.” Reported by The Times of Israel (03/04/20). Read more…

Netanyahu repeated the accusation on Saturday, while praising Likud’s victory, 36 seats, the most it has ever garnered. Reported by The Times of Israel (03/07/20). Read more…

In turn, Benny Gantz accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of inciting violence. Linking the accusation to Netanyahu’s upcoming corruption trial, Gantz said, “Netanyahu and his people are intentionally fueling violent and extreme discourse. Netanyahu is ignoring the election results and is prepared to burn everything on his way to avoiding trial.” Reported by The Times of Israel (03/06/20). Read more…

Likud has also said that it will petition Israel’s high court the require all tallying protocols to be released. The party says it wants to correct “errors in the recording and writing up of results,” though it provided no evidence of errors. Israel’s Central Election Committee rejected any suggestion by Likud there was political interference in the tallying of the vote. Reported by The Times of Israel (03/06/20). Read more…

Meanwhile, on Saturday, lawmakers from the Blue and White and Yisrael Beiteinu parties vowed they would form a government without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Reported by The Times of Israel (03/07/20). Read more…

Two weeks prior to the election, Israel’s Justice Ministry announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial would start on March 17, 2020. Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, filed indictments against Netanyahu on January 28, 2020, charging him with fraud, breach of trust, and bribery. Reported by The Times of Israel (02/28/20). Read more…

Prior to the election, Netanyahu challenged Benny Gantz to a televised debate. Describing his challenge as an offer that could be impossible for Gantz to reject, Netanyahu said, “We will debate on TV, we will speak to the people without any scripts.” Reported by i24 News (02/19/20). Read more…

Gantz rejected the challenge, noting that Netanyahu has avoided debates for over a decade, including Gantz’s challenge in the last round of elections. Gantz said, “This whole event is one big media spin. I don’t work for this spin, I don’t work for Netanyahu.” Netanyahu fired back, saying, “Gantz is scared of a debate and he knows why. Israel needs a strong leader and not a coward. If Gantz is scared to come to a debate against the prime minister, how will he withstand the great challenges of the State of Israel?” Reported by The Times of Israel (02/19/20). Read more…

However, half of Israelis polled said they would like to see a debate between Netanyahu and Gantz. Reported by i24 News (02/20/20). Read more…

A week prior to the election, Netanyahu announced that he would move forward with a highly controversial plan to build settlements east of Jerusalem. The move was seen as an offering to hardline nationalist voters. Although the plan was drafted back in 1995, it has been put on hold repeatedly due to strong international condemnation because its effect would be to cut the West Bank in two and connect the Maale Adumim settlement to Jerusalem. Reported by The Guardian (02/25/20).Read more…