בני גנץ
Blue & White leader Benny Gantz
Photo: Elad Malka
Blue & White leader Benny Gantz

Centrist Blue & White said mulling election alliance with far-right Yamina

Party leader Benny Gantz reportedly conditions move on ouster of Betzalel Smotrich; sources close to defense minister say he is working to prevent 'far-right government by Netanyahu, Sa'ar and Bennett'

Yuval Karni, Amichai Attali |
Published: 01.06.21 , 18:18
Representatives for Defense Minister Benny Gantz's centrist Blue & White party and Naftali Bennett's far-right Yamina reportedly met to discuss a possible alliance in the upcoming March elections.
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  • No party members were present at the meeting. Parties have until February 4 to submit their final lists of party candidates for the vote.
    בני גנץבני גנץ
    Blue & White leader Benny Gantz
    (Photo: Elad Malka)
    Blue & White has taken a decidedly more right-wing tone following the resignations of nine MKs and ministers from the party, most from the more left-wing faction.
    Party officials have argued that given this new tone, Blue & White should examine an alliance with Yamina, on condition that pro-settlement head of the far-right Tkuma faction, Betzalel Smotrich, is not part of the agreement.
    Last week, Ynet reported that former justice minister Avi Nissenkorn said he resigned from Blue & White because of contacts between Gantz and Yamina. He has since joined Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai's new party,he Israelis.
    Members of Gantz's inner circle said that the defense minister could prove "the deciding factor" in the elections and that he is "working to prevent a radical right-wing government of either [former Likud minister] Gideon Sa'ar or Bennett with [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu."
    Yamina, for its part, sees the remaining members of Blue & White as more aligned with the religious-Zionist side of the political map and could prove a good fit for the party, referring to MKs such as Chili Tropper, Michael Biton, Orit Farkash-HaCohen and Pnina Tamano-Shata.
    The biggest advantage Yamina could achieve from a joint running with Blue & White is campaign funding, which is calculated according to the number of Knesset seats each party has.
    נפתלי בנטנפתלי בנט
    Yamina leader Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: Hadar Yoavian)
    Blue & White, which currently has 13 seats, received nearly NIS 20 million in campaign funding even though polls show it may not even pass the threshold of 3.25% of the overall vote to return to the Knesset in March.
    Blue & White in response said that there are no negotiations with Yamina and that the parties will not run together in March.
    The party also said that Gantz intends to stay in the race in order to ensure that Netanyahu is ousted, and that he will focus on fighting coronavirus and defending the country.
    Yamina, however, said in response that such a move "is not yet on the table."
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