(JNS) As coalition negotiations appear to have failed, potentially leading Israel into an unprecedented third round of national elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared for a pre-indictment hearing with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
Netanyahu’s coalition partners—Yamina, Shas and United Torah Judaism—are believed to support legislation that would protect sitting Israeli prime ministers from prosecution. However, the parties comprise just 55 seats, not enough to seal a coalition deal.
As Netanyahu met with leaders of those parties to discuss the deadlock, his 10-person legal team presented their case to Mandelblit and other justice officials.
Netanyahu was scheduled to make a last-ditch effort to entice the Blue and White Party into a coalition deal, but party leader Benny Gantz canceled the meeting, saying there was no evidence Netanyahu was willing to enter into a power-sharing agreement with him. Lower officials from both Likud and Blue and White also canceled scheduled meetings.
Blue and White said it would not proceed under the precondition that the religious parties and the right-wing Yamina alliance be automatically included in negotiations.
Likud responded that Gantz’s party had decided to “go to elections” and blamed Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid for standing in the way of a rotation agreement between Netayahu and Gantz.