Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Monday that a rotation deal between the leader of his Likud party, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Blue & White Chairman Benny Gantz for the position of prime minister is "off the table" after exit polls predict a Likud win.
"The rotation deal is off the table, it was only on the table after last time ended in a draw," Katz said in an interview at the Ynet studio. "Unfortunately for Gantz, he didn't take it. I even told Gantz directly in one of my interviews he won't become prime minister because he refused the deal under the pressure of his peers. This was a one-time opportunity. This time there's no draw, but a clear decision - only Netanyahu."
However, Katz didn't rule out including the centrist party in a future unity government.
"First of all, there's a commitment to the partners who stood with Likud to prevent the establishment of a left-wing government. This commitment will surely be preserved, but not we do not rule out anyone and no one should be ruled out."
Although exit polls showed a clear victory for Likud over Blue & White, the ruling party's right-wing bloc had received only 59 seats - 2 short of the 61 seats needed to win a majority in the 120-strong Knesset, which raised speculations the bloc will try to recruit defectors from the rival center-left bloc.
Alluding to a possible alliance down the road, Katz showed his appreciation for Labor-Gesher-Meretz co-leader Orly Levy-Abekasis.
"On a personal level, I appreciate her very much. She could make a great health minister."