Israel Roundup: No New Government, Stores May Reopen

  • Now the mandate to make a government has been given to any MK who can gather together 61 mandates.
  • The Knesset has three weeks to form a new government or Israel will head to its fourth election since 2019.
  • Again, immunity from prosecution of Netanyahu held up coalition negotiations.

Last-ditch negotiations between Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party and Likud, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, have failed to reach a coalition deal. However, both sides are still talking. Gantz was given the chance to make a government through uniting with Likud, but his attempt failed. 

Men praying in Jerusalem wearing masks.

Gantz was willing to break up his Blue and White alliance, which combined three parties together, and take his Israel Resilience Party, amounting to 15 mandates, to join with the 58 mandates of Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc. This would create a unified government of 73 mandates. Gantz and Netanyahu could not reach an agreement, and now the mandate to make a government has been given to any MK who can gather together 61 mandates.

Blue and White sources lashed out at Netanyahu after the failure to agree on a unity government.  They said that Netanyahu would rather put the nation through a fourth election rather than compromise on important issues. If no agreements can be reached to produce a government within three weeks, the Knesset will dissolve and the country will be forced into its fourth consecutive elections since 2019.

The main issue which caused Gantz to fail to make an emergency, unified coalition was, again, immunity from prosecution of Netanyahu.  Their plans were for a rotation period between the two sides beginning with a year and a half for Netanyahu and Gantz being deputy prime minister.  When Gantz will take the position of Prime Minister after 18 months, Netanyahu will assume the position of deputy prime minister, which gives him no immunity, and he will be forced to resign.

The government, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health, has attempted to keep the spread of Coronavirus contained.  The major areas in the nation, which have the largest percentages of infection, are the religious cities and settlements. Synagogues have been closed throughout the Passover holiday, and these areas, including Bnei Brak, sections of Jerusalem, Elad, Beit Shemesh, and Betar have been locked down by the police. 

Police guarding checkpoints at entrance to Arab village in the Galilee.

No travel was allowed entering and leaving these cities during the Passover holiday. On the holidays it is customary for families and religious groups to gather together, celebrating the festival which the Minister of Health considered dangerous to the public. Now that the holidays are over, the blockades of these places have been partially lifted.  

Only supermarkets and pharmacies were allowed to open during the holidays. Some other stores and business will be allowed to open starting this Sunday after the holidays. The cabinet is working on an exit plan, but nothing has yet to be announced.  Eventually, there is hope that malls will be opened again, which have been closed for over a month.

As of Thursday, there are 12,591 infected, and 174 in serious condition. Out of these, 133 are receiving ventilator support. The death toll currently stands at 140. There has recently been a spike of cases in Arab villages in the Galilee, which the Health Ministry is afraid that may lead to hundreds of potential infections. These villages have now been put in quarantine.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites.

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