Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday revealed details of his Likud party's proposed terms for a unity government with Blue & White that failed to convince the second largest political party to agree.
There is an issue of trust that prevents any such agreement. Netanyahu is no longer trusted by allies and opponents alike. He has gone back on his word too many times.
Netanyahu claimed agreements have already been reached on a government that will serve for three years, led for the first 18 months by Netanyahu with a Likud finance minister, while Blue & White will receive the foreign and defense ministries.
According to the prime minister, in September 2021, the roles will be changed and Blue & White leader Benny Gantz will become prime minister with a member of his party taking over at the Finance Ministry, while the defense and foreign ministries will be given to the Likud.
Netanyahu also said the two factions would hold an equal number of portfolios to ensure no one faction has a majority over the other in government votes.
But Blue & White has thus far not accepted the prime minister's offer and is continuing on its declared path to replace Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein with one of its own lawmakers.
This move will give it in an advantage over Likud and enable it to legislate laws that will block Netanyahu from becoming a candidate for prime minister while criminal indictments against him still stand.
Meanwile Netanyahu has threatened Blue & White that any attempt to change the Knesset speaker would immediately put an end to all unity talks.
The state of emergency posed by the coronavirus pandemic requires a unity government and a fourth election campaign should be taken off the table.
Blue & White leader Benny Gantz is a political novice compared to Netanyahu but is not so naïve as to trust his main political opponent.
Gantz, who last week was tapped President Reuven Rivlin to form the next government, was prepared to enter a unity government for the good of the nation in a time of crisis, even at the cost of dismantling his own political party.
But he does not believe Netanyahu when he claims he will vacate the prime minister's office when the time comes.
Keenly aware of his well-earned reputation, Netanyahu has opted to make negotiations public in the hopes that his declared promises will carry more weight.
Whether this is enough to bring Gantz back to the negotiating table will become evident in the next few days.