Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a column that appeared in Wednesday's Israel Hayom, rejected the possibility of forming a unity government together with the Blue and White opposition party, declaring it was his obligation to establish only a right-wing coalition.
A right-wing government "will continue to lead the State of Israel to unprecedented achievements and safeguard the security of Israeli citizens. This is my commitment to Likud voters. There will be no unity government," Netanyahu wrote.
Israel Hayom prefaced the column by saying it was partly in response to a call by one of their writers, Moti Tuchfeld, to the Likud to build a right-wing coalition. There have been rumors circulating of the possibility the Likud would join with Blue and White in a unity government. Blue and White is a center-left party.
Rumors are based in part on the possibility that Netanyahu won't have a choice as polls show Avigdor Liberman's Israel Beiteinu party strengthening in the polls (11 seats), putting him in position to decide which side will be able to form a government.
Liberman has said he wants a broad unity government and so may force the two sides together. The Likud party has interpreted other statements he has made as indicating he wants Blue and White's Gantz to lead. However, Liberman hasn't explicitly stated this.
Netanyahu addressed the threat from Liberman in his column in order to motivate the Likud base, writing, "Avigdor Liberman stated in an interview with IDF Radio last Sunday that he would recommend for prime minister Benny Gantz ... The Likud must be the biggest party to ensure that the formation of the government falls to us."
The prime minister devoted the rest of his column to exhorting his constituency to vote Likud, saying, "Anyone who wants a strong right-wing government, who does not want a left-wing government led by [Yair] Lapid and Gantz, must vote for Likud—only Likud."
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