- “The Israeli parliament comprised of 120 seats, approved the amendments in the second and third readings with 71 deputies voting in favor and 37 against,” a statement said.
- On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Israel gave a green light to the Netanyahu-Gantz arrangement.
- The next government has it’s role clearly cut out.
The Israeli parliament today approved the formation of a government of national unity between the acting Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his erstwhile rival, Benny Gantz. This ends the longest political crisis in modern Israeli history. The leaders are now expected to swear in the power-sharing government next week.
“The Israeli parliament comprised of 120 seats, approved the amendments in the second and third readings with 71 deputies voting in favor and 37 against,” a statement said. The approval of the agreement by the Knesset was almost an obvious thing, since Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud, Ganz’s centrist Resilience Party, and their allies have a majority in the Knesset.
The Israeli president hopes today to receive the signatures of the majority of deputies in favor of giving Netanyahu the mandate to form the next government. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Israel gave a green light to the Netanyahu-Gantz arrangement, in a ruling that dealt a blow to the various activists and organizations that had moved to court to block the union.
The court, however, didn’t free Netanyahu, accused in three different cases of corruption, and whose trial was postponed due to the new coronavirus pandemic. The 11-judge panel, in its ruling, expressed strong opposition to both Netanyahu’s continued rule and the coalition deal. However, the court said it would not block the coalition anyway.
“We did not find any legal reason to prevent MK (Member of Knesset) Netanyahu from forming a government,” the court said. “The legal conclusion we reached does not diminish the severity of the pending charges against MK Netanyahu for violations of moral integrity and the difficulty derived from the tenure of a prime minister accused of criminal activity.”
Netanyahu is one politician famed for political wizardry, even while ostensibly cornered. His latest move, of having managed to convince Gantz to join him, simply adds a feather on his cap. Gantz is a former army chief who entered politics vowing to oust Netanyahu, but the very Netanyahu has since convinced him to do the exact opposite and join his camp instead.
Netanyahu and Gantz have already announced the unveiling on May 13 of the next government, where the portfolios will be shared equally between the two camps. Netanyahu, with his Likud party, will officially take over the premiership position in the first 18 months. He would later be replaced by Gantz, the former chief of staff of the Armed Forces.
The next government has it’s role clearly cut out. It, first of all, has the task of managing the end of the coronavirus confinement and breathing a new lease of life in the ailing Israeli economy. It will also have to decide on the project of annexation of parts of the West Bank.
Israeli political pundits opine that by joining hands with Netanyahu, Gantz has lost his popularity significantly, not only from his former supporters, but also from almost half of his party’s legislators. However, in defense of his move, he argued that the COVID-19 pandemic was the reason he agreed to form a unity government with Netanyahu.
COVID-19 has already infected 16,000 people in Israel and killed 239. In addition, it has raised unemployment levels from 3.4% to 27%.