Courtesy JNS; Photo Credit: Olivier FItoussi Tkuma Party head Bezalel Smotrich gives a press statement in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on April 4, 2021. 

Courtesy JNS; Photo Credit: Olivier FItoussi

Tkuma Party head Bezalel Smotrich gives a press statement in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on April 4, 2021. 

(April 18, 2021 / Israel Hayom) Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Blue and White chief Benny Gantz met on Saturday evening, April 17, for talks on forming a potential coalition in the event that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unable to form a government, Channel 12 News reported.

The meeting came against the backdrop of growing pressure on Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich to enter coalition talks with Netanyahu, despite Netanyahu’s intention to also reach out to Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas.

Smotrich said on Sunday that he would sooner support a coalition led by Lapid and Yamina leader Naftali Bennett than one backed by Abbas. He vowed on Friday that he would not entertain the idea of supporting a government that includes or is even endorsed by an Arab party, saying such a move was akin to “the right’s suicide.”

“A fifth election is much preferable to this suicide,” he tweeted. “There is an alternative and that’s a full right-wing government, but instead of making an effort you’d rather embrace terror sympathizers. And you know what, even a hybrid [government] that I don’t think will come to pass and, if it does, will last only a few months, is better than the destruction of the right and Zionism.”

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