Israel’s Netanyahu to Gantz: ‘I’ll resign now, you’ll be PM for 3 years’

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the Knesset (Israel Parliament) in Jerusalem. May 17, 2020.
Alex Kolomoisky/Flash90Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the Knesset (Israel Parliament) in Jerusalem. May 17, 2020.

PM may have exhausted his hand, but could still pull a fast card on key vote, Sunday

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered to resign and be immediately replaced by Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, in a message conveyed to the later by allies of the premiere early on Friday. 

Gantz, of the Blue and White party, rejected the proposal out of hand, Channel 12 reported Friday night.

The move appears to be a final last-ditch effort to prevent Sunday's swearing-in of Israel’s new government and the ending of Netanyahu’s 12-year reign, the prime minister having exhausted all other options.

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As part of the offer, one of a number made to Gantz from the Likud party in recent days, Netanyahu would have served as alternative prime minister while the defense minister took the top job for three years. 

Netanyahu offered to formally resign Friday morning so as to give Gantz confidence that he could return to the “change bloc” if the prime minister were to withdraw his resignation in the two days ahead of Sunday evening’s decisive vote on the new coalition, Channel 12 reported.

Netanyahu is seen as having exhausted his credibility as a coalition partner, having burned many in the past including Gantz, which caused him difficulty in tempting members of the incoming government to cross the floor to his bloc. 

Likud MK David Bitan on Friday leveled criticism at Netanyahu over the dissolution of the short-lived unity government that Likud formed with Blue and White last year.

“In retrospect, it’s clear today that it was a mistake by Netanyahu not to implement the rotation with Gantz,” Bitan said, according to The Times of Israel.

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