Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has presented a framework for his Likud and the Kachol Lavan parties to share the lead of a national unity government, less than a week before his mandate as designated PM expires. The premiership will be rotated between himself and Benny Gantz. In his five-point program, Netanyahu does not specify who comes first, but stands by his bloc of 55 Knesset members. He proposes keeping the status quo on religious versus state issues, one of the main obstacles hitherto for a deal. The prime minister calls for an administration based on the broadest possible national consensus for dealing with the urgent security and economic challenges facing the country. Concessions will obviously be required by both parties, he says, for the sake of a deal.
“We see the Middle East changing before our eyes – for the worst – and security challenges are growing and not waiting for us, Netanyahu pointed out. “I therefore call on you, Gantz, to show national responsibility and join us without delay in talks for establishing a government which this country so much needs. If we delay, we will fall back to square one [stalemate] in two months’ time.”