1. Grip and grimace: There was more than healthy skepticism in the press after the news that Likud and Blue and White will start unity talks after party leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz met in President Reuven Rivlin's camp.
- It helps to create the feeling that unity is just another word about which there is nothing more to say, the fact that each party returned to their camps with soothing promising words that they would not abandon them, first through Netanyahu on their right-wing religious party and then through Gantz to his amalgamonster.
- "Unity or maneuvering?" Is the top heading of Yedioth Ahronoth, under the same photo of two leaders holding hands and smiling painfully that adorn each main title page, and above the cartoon Reuven Rivlin as a cupid.
- "The joint statement was two steps forward; Netanyahu's promise for his right-wing religious bloc was half a step back. If Netanyahu wanted to mislead everyone … he succeeded, "writes Yedioth Nahum Barnea.
- "Netanyahu is dedicated to ultra-orthodox and has even signed a contract with them," writes channel commentator Raviv Drucker on the channel's website. "On the other hand, Gantz, despite his denials, is involved [Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor] Liberman, even to this extent [promising him] ministerial positions. Neither party is ready to push its partners aside. "
- According to Haaretz, the meeting took place "in an atmosphere of suspicion."
- "Oscar for deception or real unity?" Asks Amit Segal from channel 12.
2. Spin the rotary wheel: Haaretz reports that even if they fall into unity, both sides are stalled as to who will be prime minister in the first place under the rotation agreement.
- According to Hayom, supported by Netanyahu, Likud is seeking an agreement that will give Netanyahu the first year, then two years for Gantz, and another year for anyone who has been managing Likud until now.
- According to Yedioth, there are two other options, both with Gantz as prime minister, until Netanyahu has time in court. If he is cleansed, he will take the office of prime minister, and if he is found guilty, another Likudnik will be transferred to him.
- Haaretz reports, however, that Likud is actually trying to squeeze the first three years, casting Gantz bone last year.
- "Likud insists on taking first place in rotation because of" government continuity, "in the words of a member of the negotiating staff from the right-wing bloc. The party says in upcoming interviews that there are no preconditions and everything is on the table, but in practice rotation is the main requirement to join, "reports the newspaper.
- Television reports also had a lot of ideas, including one according to which Netanyahu would be prime minister first, with the obligation to step down if he was charged in any case against him.
- If this sounds like guessing, guess what: it probably is. And it's not even clear that the party itself is doing much more than throwing test balloons against the wall to see what's holding up.
3. Merchants unity: On Tuesday morning, right-wing lawmakers take part in airwaves to push unity, knowing that this is the only way to stay in power.
- "It's better to push the unity now and not ruin it for another month," says future Yamina MK Ofir Sofer, Army Radio, even at the expense of her own party, which is not part of it.
- But MK Tamar Zandberg from the Democratic Camp disagrees with the idea of joining the group of right-wingers: "We recommend that Gantz form a center-left government and not be part of the right wing."
- Meanwhile, Blue and White supports the idea that Netanyahu is not interested in sticking to his right-wing partners and did not mention them in the talks that Channel 12 rightly prints as a fact "confirmed" by Gantz.
- The channel also quotes sources in the right-wing religious bloc, accusing Gantz of "trying to break us down."
4. Quilting players: In the event of inability to achieve unity, Rivlin will have to choose one or the other to give the baton.
- Channel 13 reports that Rivlin has not yet decided who to give it to, and it is unclear whether the parties have done it too.
- While Sunday reports indicated that both sides wanted to allow the other side to crack (and fail), Israel Hayom reports that Likud really wants to be the first to fall.
- According to the report, citing senior party members, "if Gantz takes second place, public pressure will force him to quickly lower his demands."
- "Rivlin, forced to make a solomonic decision, can choose between two candidates who might not know if they want to be chosen at all," writes ToI editor David Horovitz.
- According to Haaretz, Rivlin tends to hand the baton to Likud, who is supported by a strong 55-strong religious right.
- The editor-in-chief of the paper has cheated Blue and White for preferring to bang rather than take the rare support of Arab parties and run with him.
- "This movement looks like capitulation without a fight, admitting that the right-wing tactics of delegating parties representing Arab society have long been successful," reads an editorial.
- In Walli, Amir Oren writes that Netanyahu looks hungry, while Gantz seems satisfied. "He is a victim," he writes, advising the blue and white leader, that "in politics, if you're not the prime minister tonight, you can't count on being tomorrow or the day after."
5. What Odeh meant: In Forward, Sara Hirschhorn writes that liberal American Jews who are not fans of Netanyahu should not be so brave as to think that the Common List's decision to support Gantz affects them in any way, even when they celebrate this movement.
- "Although we can be verklempt about the vision of Jewish-Arab cooperation and a new way to peace, concerns the future of Israeli society – where we do not get a voice, "he writes.
- Writing also about the decision on a joint list, Gham Muhammed Shehada, from Gaza, says in Haaretz that it was not about Gantz's support, but the suppression of Netanyahu.
- "Put simply, Arab MKs are risking everything to oust Netanyahu and promote Israel's democracy. If Gantz does not reciprocate this olive branch, it is only a matter of time before more Arab MKs withdraw their support so as not to disappoint their constituents and other Palestinians. Gantz now has the key to this puzzle – he writes.
6. Israel in transition: While Israel is waiting for its government to develop, the world is moving forward at a dizzying pace, especially at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
- While Netanyahu usually dived in the spotlight, he was forced to send his foreign minister, Israel Katz, instead.
- "Netanyahu will not represent Israel at the United Nations General Assembly this week, nor will he meet with Trump to try to play his role as an indispensable leader of Israel. In fact, this strategy – pushing primarily its necessity and relationship with Trump – is the main reason why it has just lost the most important choices of its life, "writes Anshel Pfeffer in the Atlantic.
- What can Netanyahu do as prime minister caretaker? According to experts, not much.
- "The point is, the transitional government should not create facts on the ground when there is no Knesset to provide oversight," says Raphael Ahren Toi, Suzie Navot, professor of constitutional law at Stricks Law School at Rishon Lezion. "Controls and balance means that the parliament oversees the work of the government, and Knesset has not yet expressed confidence in the prime minister's policy."