Netanyahu calls his rival Gantz for unity government


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called Benny Gantz, leader of the center-left Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) to form a unity government, according to Israeli local media reports.

Netanyahu’s call came after it was cleared that the right-wing parties have no majority to form the next Israeli government.

On Wednesday, he met with the leaders of religious right-wing parties Yamina, Shas and United Torah Judaism to negotiate as one bloc.

Netanyahu acknowledged that he promised a right-wing government during the election, but: “The results of the election showed it is not possible. The public did not decide between the two blocs.”

He called on his rival Benny Gantz to meet today to discuss forming a unity government.

“Benny, it is on us to form a broad unity government. Today, the nation expects us, both of us, to show responsibility and act in cooperation,” Netanyahu said.

Gantz or his office have yet to make a public statement on Netanyahu’s offer.

Israeli election committee is expected to announce the final results Thursday evening.

With 90% of the votes counted, Israel’s center-left Blue and White party is projected to win the parliamentary elections with 32 seats edging ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud party’s 31 seats.

The Arab bloc (Israeli Arabs) was able to win 13 seats.

The right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party of former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman bagged nine seats.

The ultra-orthodox Shas Party won seven seats, the right-wing United Torah Judaism (UTJ) nine, and right-wing Yamina party eight.

Left-wing parties Democratic Union and Labor-Gesher bagged six and five seats, respectively.

Voter turnout stood at 63.1%, according to the election committee.

Israel held Tuesday its second general elections this year, due to Netanyahu’s failure to form a government after the previous poll. Observers expect there may be a third round of elections if the crisis continues.
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