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FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, April 14, 201...

Netanyahu’s rival rejects conditions for forming a government in Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival party says it has rejected his demands to form a unity government under his leadership and include his right-wing and ultra-Orthodox allies.

The centrist Blue and White Party said after talks Friday with Netanyahu’s Likud that it “was made clear from the outset” that the party would reject the prime minster’s conditions.

It says they’re aimed at “dragging” Israel into a third round of elections, “in line with the interests of the prime minister.”

Blue and White, led by former army chief Benny Gantz, won the most seats in elections earlier this month, closely followed by Netanyahu’s Likud. But neither has enough support to assemble a 61-seat majority coalition, and they are fiercely divided over the leadership and makeup of any unity government.