On Thursday, Benny Gantz, the Defense Minister, and Benjamin Netanyahu, the opposition leader, both vowed that they would not sit in a coalition together after the election.
Speaking at a pre-election conference, Netanyahu said that there was no possibility of him establishing a government in the future with Benny Gantz’ National Unity party.
The opposition leader did spell out the parties that he believes will join the coalition that would allow him to establish a government.
He highlighted the Likud party, along with United Torah Judaism, Shas and Religious Zionism. Netanyahu said in the conference in Dimona that Gantz belongs to the left-wing.
He added that Gantz wants to see Jerusalem become a Palestinian capital, so he would not want to make a government with him and was not going to give up Religious Zionism.
The parties that Netanyahu has named will leave the former premier with a coalition of narrow right-wing and ultra-Orthodox, if he can form a government.
According to most polls, he is likely to get 60 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, which means he would still not be able to get a majority.
Later on Thursday night, Gantz responded and said that he would also not sit in a government with Netanyahu in any circumstances.
The leader of the National Unity party said that his party was the only one that could dismantle Netanyahu’s bloc, but he was not going to sit with him.
He also added that he would not even negotiate with the Likud party of the opposition leader and challenged other coalition party leaders, including Prime Minister Yair Lapid, to do the same.
Gantz had formed a coalition with Netanyahu back in 2020, which had collapsed a year later. Lapid had also spoken at a conference earlier and said that he would not sit with Likud in government until Netanyahu was leader.
Lapid also added that he would not do so until Netanyahu gets acquitted in its corruption trial.
Miki Zohar, another MK of the Likud party, seemed to contradict the stance Netanyahu had taken on Gantz.
He indicated that the Likud party was willing to negotiate with the current defense minister. He also conceded that the party would have to make some policy concessions for forming a government.
Zohar said that Likud had to decide whether to give in to Gantz’s demands like maintaining the legal system’s status quo, while the political right has talked about restructuring it.
The liberal voter base of the Likud party has also become concerned about the far-right and the role they would play in a future government.
In order to calm them down, Zohar said that if Religious Zionism tried to take things to the extreme, then they would not form a coalition because they want to maintain their own ideology.
He added that while they were willing to cooperate with far-right politician Ben Gvir, they would not be willing to let him dictate policy.