Challenger Benny Gantz (left) and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are shown on September 18 as they vote at their respective polling stations. (Emmanuel Dunand, Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Netanyahu: Minority Government Backed by Arabs ‘Historic Terror Attack’

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ruffled feathers Sunday night at an “emergency rally” of supporters of his Likud party, warning that a Benny Gantz-led minority government backed from the outside by the Joint (Arab) List would be tantamount to a “historic terror attack” against Israel. At the demonstration, whose aim was described by organizers as “stopping the dangerous minority government that is reliant on terror supporters,” Netanyahu said that such a political alliance would constitute an “existential threat” and “be celebrated in Tehran, Ramallah [and] in Gaza.” Gantz’s Blue and White union has until Wednesday night to form a coalition. Thus far, all attempts have failed at creating a so-called national unity government with Netanyahu’s Likud, which would entail a rotating premiership. Accordingly, Gantz is currently mulling the creation of a minority government that would likely comprise 52 seats in the 120-member parliament, which, to be confirmed, would almost certainly necessitate the backing of at least some Arab lawmakers. In response to Netanyahu’s controversial speech, Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh tweeted: “There won’t be a ‘Binyamin Junction’ or ‘Netanyahu high school.’ This evening he sealed his legacy as a bitter criminal [a reference to three pending police investigations against the prime minister] who doesn’t know how to lose, only to harm and incite against those he was supposed to serve.” With respect to the criminal cases, Israel’s attorney-general is expected next week to announce a formal decision on whether to indict Netanyahu. Meanwhile, Blue and White leaders have reportedly decided to await the results of a meeting on Monday between former defense minister Avigdor Liberman and Netanyahu before taking any next steps. For his part, President Reuven Rivlin “call[ed] upon Likud and Blue and White to get their act together and realize that the public does not want another election.” Israelis went to the polls in April and September, and could again be forced to vote in early 2020 unless the political impasse is somehow bridged at the 11th hour.

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