September 19, 2019 / 8:59 AM / 2 months ago

Israel's Netanyahu cites 1980s precedent in hint at rotating premiership with Gantz

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, hold hands at a memorial ceremony for late Israeli President Shimon Peres, at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday at a possible rotating premiership deal with election challenger Benny Gantz after inviting his centrist rival to join him in government.

Speaking at a memorial ceremony for former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Netanyahu noted that the late left-wing statesman had forged a coalition with conservative Yitzhak Shamir in which they rotated top office between 1984 and 1988.

“When there was no clear victory in Knesset (parliamentary) elections, Shimon opted for national unity. He and Yitzhak Shamir agreed to cooperate in order to navigate Israel to a safe shore,” Netanyahu said in the speech, attended by Gantz, who appeared tied with the incumbent after Tuesday’s Israeli ballot.

“In this election, too, there is no clear win. And I call on you, Benny ... Let us work together to again bring the State of Israel to safe shores.”

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Toby Chopra

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