Rumors Abound: Netanyahu to Hand Mandate Back to President
Local Israeli media reports are indicating incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will return to the president his mandate to form a coalition government as early as Sunday. Many pundits see the move as a step closer to a third round of elections, believing that rival Blue and White bloc will have no better success behind Benny Gantz. The rumors come after teams from the two top vote-getters met for more than four hours with no discernable progress. Some believe Gantz might actually be willing to enter a power sharing arrangement with Netanyahu but his bloc-partner Yair Lapid, keeps the pressure on with his cacophony of calls never to sit in the coalition with Netanyahu because of pending indictments. But Lapid is the big loser if the parties form a unity government because he will lose out on his own power-sharing arrangement with Gantz, who promised to split the term 50-50. That would be quite a coup for Lapid, whose Yesh Atid was teetering on the brink of elimination from the parliament when he made the deal with Gantz who did so even though polls showed him to be stronger without Lapid. Whatever happens, many Israelis will have their eyes on more than their prayer book this Jewish New Year.
Bibi with Rivlin