Netanyahu, Gantz Argue Their Way into An Election Neither Side Wants
By Staff, Agencies
Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked down from the Knesset rostrum at his political rival, a former military chief, and made one last call for a unity government before the ‘Israeli’ parliament [Knesset] would be dissolved and early elections initiated.
That is not the lead to a story in the newspaper next week or the week after.
It happened in December 1998, when the Knesset was about to vote to disperse itself.
Netanyahu said he wants to know if you are accepting my offer to consider the possibility of uniting ‘Israel.’
Opposition leader Ehud Barak responded that “it is clear to everyone that the government’s days are over,” and it is “too late” for a unity government.
Usually, when the Knesset disperses itself, it happens quickly. The outgoing government passes the dispersal bill six times in the plenum and the Knesset House Committee over a day or two, as it did in December 2018.
Anyone who thought that would happen this week, too, was mistaken. When this government breaks up, it will apparently be as painful as possible, just like when it was born.
Between now and then, there will be endless speculation about how the coalition could still be saved. There will be plenty of trial balloons and reports of “secret talks” between associates of Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz.
That is only natural, considering that neither Netanyahu nor Gantz actually wants to initiate elections right now.
Netanyahu did not want the Knesset dispersed until the first vaccines arrived in the occupied territories. He sees the vaccines as not only a cure for the coronavirus but also a remedy for his chief of staff turned nemesis Naftali Bennett.
Gantz wanted to remain war minister and alternate prime minister for as long as possible, thinking that maybe the rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office would still happen unexpectedly.
Meanwhile, sources close to Netanyahu said he never once pondered the possibility of passing the budget and surrendering on the rotation.
“Gantz committed suicide while smiling,” a source close to Netanyahu said. “He wasted two months pushing for something the prime minister never even considered. He wasted gas in the parking lot. He built up [opposition leader] Yair Lapid, enabling him to disperse the Knesset with no reward for himself in the polls whatsoever.”