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March 4, 2020 5:04 pm

Netanyahu Claims Gantz Connected to ‘Terror Supporters,’ as Blue and White Pushes Law to Prevent PM From Forming Government

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, May 30, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted his chief rival on Wednesday as Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party began to push an initiative to prevent an indicted prime minister from forming a government.

Despite scoring a victory in Monday’s elections, Netanyahu’s position is looking ever more precarious, with his rightist-religious bloc of supporters winning only 58 seats, three short of the required 61-seat majority to form a government, with no clear indication of where the required three seats might come from.

Israel’s Channel 13 reported that faced with this dilemma and the news of Blue and White’s proposed law, Netanyahu went on a tirade at a meeting with MKs from the various right-wing and religious parties, saying, “The initiative Gantz has been leading in recent hours undermines the foundations of democracy and the will of the voters.”

He also repeated a mantra he has used regarding the largely-Arab Joint List party, stating that during the election campaign “we said that Gantz was connected to the terror supporters of the Joint List in an attempt to cancel the public’s decision.”

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“The decision of the people is clear: the right-wing Zionist camp has 58 seats, the left-wing Zionist camp has 47 seats,” Netanyahu said. “The Joint List, which slanders IDF soldiers, and is opposed to the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, they are of course not included in this equation — and that was the will of the people.”

“They do not have 55 seats,” he asserted of the center-left bloc. “The leftist camp has 47 seats and not 54 seats.”

“Gantz, you lost the election,” Netanyahu said. “Get rid of this unacceptable idea. It will only increase division and divide the people at the moment when we need to repair the rifts and face the great challenges that lie ahead.”

Gantz responded on Twitter, saying, “Bibi, drink a glass of water, wait for the final results, and promise to honor them.”

Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported that, in response to Netanyahu’s statement, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh said, “Bibi, I’ll teach you what democracy is — the rule of the majority, not the majority of Jews. Pack your bags, you’re on your way home.”

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