Politics Heat Up As Israeli Elections Approaches, Parties Make Alliances

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz continues to not rule out the possibility of forming a coalition government backed from the outside by the Arab Joint List. Although in a recent speech Gantz ruled out the Joint List being part of a coalition government, he did not rule out the possibility that the Arab Joint List could back one from the outside. “We will form the government,” Gantz said. “Whoever wants to support can support it. Whoever wants to oppose it can oppose it. That is the way it works in a democracy.” Opponent Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud, was quick to jump on Gantz’s statements, saying, “The lie has been revealed. Gantz is admitting that he will rely on support from the Joint List in order to form a government.” Reported by The Jerusalem Post. Read more…

Avigdor Liberman, leader of the Yisrael Beytenu party, may find himself in a tough spot if he can’t sign a surplus vote sharing deal before February 20, 2020, the deadline for such agreements ahead of the March 2 elections. Blue and White signed an agreement with Labor-Meretz-Gesher, while the Likud has signed with Yamina. The Shas are expected to sign with United Torah Judaism. Surplus-vote sharing agreements allow parties to move votes between them if certain conditions can be met. That sometimes allows a party to pick up an extra seat. Reported by The Jerusalem Post.Read more…

Liberman recently revealed that he would be willing to be part of a coalition with Labor-Gesher-Meretz. In the past, he has ruled out a coalition including Meretz. Liberman explained his about-face over Army Radio, saying, “I sat [in a government] with Amir Peretz before, and we got along, and Orly Levy-Abecassis grew up in Yisrael Beytenu.”

Settlers and activists sent Benjamin Netanyahu a strong message recently, protesting outside his Jerusalem home. The message: annex the West Bank now if you want support on March 2. Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan told the crowd gathered outside Netanyahu’s home, “If you want the support of the Right – act like you are the leader of the Right.” Reported by The Jerusalem Post.Read more…

Likud allegations that Blue and White would collaborate with the Arab Joint List party have harmed Gantz’s party in the polls, but not helped Likud. Blue and White dropped from a polled 36 seats to 34, while the Likud remained unchanged at 33. Interestingly, the poll also showed that the Joint List would pick up a seat. Reported by The Jerusalem Post. Read more…

Right wing religious parties reiterated their alignment with Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud. The Yamina, United Torah Jerusalem, and Shas parties all put their signatures on a letter endorsing Netanyahu. “We’ll only support Netanyahu. We are convinced that the right-wing bloc will succeed in getting 61 seats in the elections and assembling a strong nationalist government for the people of Israel,” the letter said. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…