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Senior Blue and White Lawmaker: Ousting Netanyahu is Primary Goal

Moshe Ya’alon, head of the right-wing Telem faction of Israel’s centrist Blue and White political alliance, insisted on Thursday that the primary objective of forming a minority government reliant on outside support from the predominantly Arab Joint List would be to oust the country’s longest-serving leader. “We will form any government that will make it so [Binyamin] Netanyahu will not remain on the prime minister’s throne,” Ya’alon said. He also addressed growing criticism that while campaigning, high-ranking Blue and White legislators, including alliance chief Benny Gantz, had ruled out courting the Joint List. “The election results put us in the position of choosing which promise to break,” Ya’alon said. “In this situation, removing Netanyahu is the main goal. We have no choice but to rely on the Joint List.” Those comments came amid a rebellion by two Telem lawmakers who said they will refuse to sit in a coalition backed by the Joint List. On Wednesday, the head of the Gesher party, which is part of a political union with Labor and Meretz, said she, too, would not support the formation of a Gantz-led minority government. Yet the issue could be moot given the likelihood that three lawmakers from the Balad party, considered the most extreme wing of the Joint List, will refuse to recommend at all that Gantz be tasked with forming the next government. In all of these scenarios, Gantz’s bloc would fall short of the 61-seat majority threshold in Israel’s 120-member parliament.