Blue and White (political alliance)
|Founded||21 February 2019|
|Member parties||Israel Resilience|
33 / 120
|Most MKs||35 (April 2019)|
The party was established to run in the April 2019 Knesset elections by the Israel Resilience Party, Yesh Atid and Telem, in hopes of defeating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Blue and White defines itself as a pluralistic party representing all citizens on the political and religious spectrums. The phrase "blue and white" refers to the colors of the Israeli flag, and is colloquially used to describe something as being typically Israeli.
The central tenets of the Blue and White party platform include: introducing prime ministerial term limits, barring indicted politicians from serving in the Knesset, amending the Nation-State Law to include Israeli minorities, investing in early education, expanding health care, and re-entering negotiations with the Palestinian Authority for a peace agreement.
On 21 February 2019, the last day for submitting election lists for the Knesset, Yesh Atid and Israel Resilience announced that they would form an alliance for the upcoming elections. Gabi Ashkenazi, also a former chief of staff, would join the list in the fourth spot.
Blue and White won 35 seats in the April 2019 Israeli legislative election, the same as Likud, and conceded defeat. Benjamin Netanyahu's party was tasked by President Reuven Rivlin with forming a governing coalition, but failed. This triggered the September 2019 Israeli legislative election.
Blue and White consists of three political parties (and an independent) which hold a combined 32 seats in the Knesset.
|Israel Resilience||Social liberalism||Centre||Benny Gantz|
14 / 120
|Yesh Atid||Liberalism||Centre||Yair Lapid|
14 / 120
|Telem||National liberalism||Centre-right||Moshe Ya'alon|
4 / 120
1 / 120
Israel Resilience Party
On 16 February 2015, Benny Gantz completed his term as Chief of Staff and began a three-year legal moratorium in which he could not run for the Knesset. This ended on 2 July 2018. Subsequently, in September 2018, it was reported that Gantz planned to enter politics. On 26 December 2018, the 20th Knesset voted to dissolve itself and hold early elections. A day later, on 27 December, after 109 people signed a list of founders, the party was officially registered with the name Hosen L'Yisrael.
In May 2016, "amidst wide-spread speculation that he would be fired by Netanyahu", Moshe Ya'alon resigned from his defense minister post. On 12 March 2017, Ya'alon officially relinquished his membership of Likud, announcing that he would form a new party to challenge Netanyahu in the next election. Ya'alon registered Telem on 2 January 2019. Telem announced an alliance with Israel Resilience on 29 January 2019.
Yesh Atid was founded by Yair Lapid in 2012, running on a platform of representing the centre of Israeli society. In 2013, it placed second in the general election, winning 19 seats. It then entered into a coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud. In the lead-up to the 2015 election, Lapid's campaign continued to emphasize economic issues, while heavily criticizing Netanyahu and his Likud party. Receiving 11 seats, they placed fourth and sat in the opposition.
Party platform and positions
On 25 February 2019, Lapid stated that the party wishes to amend the Nation-State Bill, intending to add a civil equality article. Blue and White's party platform was released on 6 March 2019. The document reveals positions on a number of policy areas, key among them a commitment to engage with peace-minded Arab neighbors and a willingness to enter into negotiations with the Palestinians, albeit without land concessions.
Policies included limiting the prime minister to eight years or three terms and preventing anyone convicted of a serious crime from being a public official. The party stated that they would return money previously taken by political parties in behind-the-scene deals and using it to reduce the cost of health care, education, and living. A diplomatic initiative for peace with the Palestinians was put forward. The party also supported the right of citizens to marry, divorce, parent, and be buried according to their specific beliefs, and the responsibility of all citizens to serve in the army, regardless of their religious levels.
During its 2019 campaign, the party's platform included the following pledges:
- Governmental corruption: Impose term limits on the prime minister to a maximum of three terms or eight years. Indicted or convicted politicians would be barred from running for public office.
- Religion and state: The protection of the Jewish identity of the state, as well as the identities of all of its citizens. Civil marriage would be made permissible in some form, allowing people to marry according to their own beliefs. Enforce the 2016 agreement to create an expanded place for egalitarian prayers at the Western Wall, which had been suspended by the Netanyahu government.
- Education: Investing in early education and kindergartens and subsidising daycare for young children. English and mathematics would be highly prioritized in elementary, middle, and high school.
- Health: Approximately 12.5 billion NIS (US$3.4 billion) would be invested in health care for all Israeli citizens. The party has pledged to fight against hospital closures, and to increase access to medicine throughout the country, including the periphery.
- Economy: Shift to a focus on macroeconomics, seek to encourage innovation in STEM fields, and encourage more women and Hasidic Jews to enter the workforce.
- Israel-Palestinian conflict: On 7 March, in a speech to an English-speaking audience, Lapid laid out four conditions for a peace deal with the Palestinians:
The alliance is led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid. Should it become the lead faction in forming a government, the two have agreed to a rotation which would have Gantz serving for the first two years as prime minister, with Lapid as foreign minister and Telem leader Moshe Ya'alon (in the third slot on the list) as defense minister. For the next two years, Lapid would serve as prime minister, with Gantz as defense minister. Following them on the party list are Blue and White spokesman Gabi Ashkenazi, Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn, Meir Cohen, Miki Haimovich, Ofer Shelah, Yoaz Hendel, and Orna Barbivai. Hili Tropper, number 12 on the party list, is Gantz's speechwriter and closest aide.
|Leader||Took office||Left office|
|April 2019||Benny Gantz
35 / 120
|New party||Snap election|
|September 2019||Benny Gantz
33 / 120
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Gantz's centrist political party, Blue and White...
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