On Monday afternoon, Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu—the leaders of Israel’s two major political parties—seemed poised to finalize a coalition agreement that would end the yearlong political stalemate. By the evening, talks broke down after Likud negotiators backtracked from a compromise over judicial appointments, and Gantz ordered his representatives to leave the table. Haviv Rettig Gur explains that Netanyahu, the incumbent prime minister, has found himself on the horns of a dilemma: he can’t form a government without compromising with Gantz, but he risks burning his bridges with his right-wing allies, foremost among them the Yamina party:
Netanyahu discovered that his loyal base isn’t loyal to him personally, but to the ideas and policies long advocated by the ideological right, especially when it comes to reforming the judiciary and legal system.
Everything now depends on Netanyahu’s priorities and the political timetable that guides his actions. If he seeks an emergency government to help stabilize the country during the pandemic, Gantz offers him a stable path out of the political impasse. Gantz’s nineteen seats mean that Netanyahu can ignore Yamina’s threats of heading to the opposition. With the exception of those issues where Gantz obtained explicit commitments in the coalition talks, Netanyahu will probably be more secure and powerful in a unity government than in a narrow right-wing one.
If, however, his eye is focused on the next election, whether it comes before October 2021 [when Gantz is slotted to take over as prime minister], or at the end of Gantz’s term in April 2023, then he will prioritize preserving his alliance with Yamina and shoring up the fragile loyalty of his angry base.
Read more on Times of Israel: https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-talks-founder-again-netanyahu-caught-between-gantz-and-right-wing-base/