(February 21, 2019 / JNS) In a turbulent race to seal alliances and set lists before the Thursday night deadline heading up to the April 9 elections, Israeli centrist political parties Yesh Atid and Israel Resilience announced on Thursday that they would run together in a bid to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to the agreement, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid and new Israel Resilience Party leader Benny Gantz will share the prime minister position if they win, with Gantz running the country for the first 2 and a half years, and then handing the reins to Lapid in the middle of the term.
Former IDF chiefs of staff Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi will also be on the list.
The agreement was born out of an all-night meeting between party heads at the home of a Lapid aide in the wealthy Savyon municipality, which was built on land previously containing the Arab town of Al-Abbassiyya/al-Yehudya, named after the biblical town of Yehud mentioned in the book of Joshua.
Likud responded that if Lapid and Gantz won, they would only be able to form a functional government if they received support from Arab parties. “The choice is clear: It’s either a left-wing government headed by Lapid and Gantz and supported by a bloc of Arab parties, or a right-wing government headed by Netanyahu,” said Likud in a statement on Thursday morning.
Kulanu Party leader Moshe Kahlon expressed ambivalence, saying he preferred a Netanyahu government, but that he could work in a Gantz government.
The announcement on Thursday morning less than a day after the Jewish Home and National Union parties announced they would engage in a Netanyahu-brokered technical vote-sharing bloc with the staunch right Otzma Yehudit Party in exchange for the education and housing ministries and two seats in the security cabinet.