Leaders of Israel Resilience and Yesh Atid set to meet in last-ditch bid to unite against the right
Wednesday 20/February/2019 - 09:24 AM
Benny Gantz & Yair Lapid
After presenting his Knesset slate for the upcoming elections on Tuesday night، Israel Resilience party chief Benny Gantz was set Wednesday morning to meet fellow centrist leader Yair Lapid in a last-ditch effort to reach a merger deal with Lapid’s Yesh Atid party، the Times of Israel reported.
Gantz، formally presenting his party’s slate for the coming elections، announced Tuesday his intention to call Lapid and propose an immediate meeting in order to join forces with Yesh Atid.
"As soon as the conference is over، I will call my friend Lapid، and I will propose to meet with him this evening. I will again propose to him to set all other considerations aside، and together we will put Israel before everything else،” Gantz said in his speech، which also included a scathing personal attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Gantz and Lapid indeed ended up talking after the speech، and sources with knowledge of the negotiations were quoted by the Ynet news site as saying the conversation “went well” and that the two leaders would be meeting in the morning.
Parties have until a Thursday deadline to finalize their candidate list for the April 9 Knesset elections.
Polls have shown that a merger of both parties would become the biggest Knesset faction and have a better chance to challenge Netanyahu’s Likud، but negotiations between them have stalled over disagreements regarding the party leadership and the makeup of the unified election slate.