JERUSALEM—In a turbulent race to seal alliances and set lists before the Thursday night deadline heading up to the April 9 election, Israeli centrist political parties Yesh Atid and Israel Resilience, respectively led by Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz, announced that they would run together in a bid to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
If the joint list wins enough seats to lead a new coalition government, the post of Prime Minister will be rotated with Gantz serving for two and a half years followed by Lapid.
In a joint statement, Yesh Atid and Israel Resilience said: “Motivated by national responsibility, Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Moshe Yaalon have decided to form a joint list that will serve as Israel’s new governing party. The new governing party will present a new team of security and social leaders that will ensure the country’s security, and will reunite the parts of the people and heal the divided Israeli society.”
On Instagram, Benny Gantz posted a picture of him, Lapid, Yaalon and Gabi Ashkenazi, who also announced that he will join the list, with the caption “united”. Ashkenazi, Gantz and Yaalon are all former IDF Chief of Staffs. The order of the list will be Gantz, Lapid, Yaalon, Ashkenazi. Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn is fifth on the list.
The Likud said: “The choice is clear, either a left-wing government of Lapid-Gantz with the support of the Arab parties’ blocking majority, or a right-wing government headed by Netanyahu.”
A poll earlier this week for Israel’s Channel 12 news predicted that a merged party of Israel Resilience and Yesh Atid would win 32 seats, Likud 30 seats, Labour 8 seats, UTJ 7 seats, New Right 7 seats, Arab Renewal 7 seats, Shas 6 seats, The Joint (Arab) List 5 seats, Meretz 5 seats, Kulanu 4 seats, Yisrael Beitenu 4 seats, and Jewish Home 4 seats.
Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon expressed ambivalence, saying he preferred a Netanyahu government, but that he could work in a Gantz government.
The announcement on Thursday morning less than a day after the Jewish Home and National Union parties announced they would engage in a Netanyahu-brokered technical vote-sharing bloc with the staunch right Otzma Yehudit party in exchange for the education and housing ministries and two seats in the security cabinet.