Israel’s centrist Blue and White party, hailed as the principle contender to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, published its manifesto on Wednesday, following weeks of speculation about the faction’s policy positions.
The Blue and White alliance is jointly led by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, and has brought in two other respected and well-known former IDF Generals Moshe Yaalon and Gabi Ashkenazi.
The latest polling shows that the centrist Blue and White party led by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid has emerged as the principle challenger to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, and, currently, is predicted to win more seats than Likud.
The party’s manifesto, which focuses on security and diplomatic issues, proposed negotiations with the Palestinians based on retaining the largest settlement blocs in the West Bank and continued Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley.
The party promised to: “Initiate a regional conference with the Arab countries that seek stability and deepen the process of separation from the Palestinians while maintaining uncompromising security interests of the State of Israel and the IDF’s freedom of action everywhere”.
The platform also includes a promise to pass legislation permitting same-sex civil unions and surrogacy by same-sex couples; a commitment to implement a currently frozen deal to expand the pluralistic Jewish prayer pavilion at the Western Wall; and a commitment to enshrine the value of equality in a Basic Law.