New Israeli Government to be Sworn In Thursday

  • Due to the Coronavirus crisis in Israel and the world, Gantz was willing to compromise and join Likud.
  • The leaders of the Yamina party decided to remain in the opposition.
  • The new government will be the 35th government in Israeli history.

Israel is in the last steps before swearing in their new government on Thursday. With 36 ministerial positions, it will be the largest government in Israeli history.  The new government was formed after two unsuccessful elections, and through the efforts of President Reuven Rivlin to unite the two sides: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz.

Yuli Edelstein, the former Knesset speaker, will be taking the position of Minister of Health.

Gantz leads the Israel Resilience Party, a center-left party, and Netanyahu is the head of Likud, the main center-right party. Israel has a coalition government with many parties, each qualifying for mandates according to the number of their votes. The two sides— Likud and Blue and White, a centrist bloc led by the Israel Resilience Party— could not gather a majority of 61 mandates alone, even after three elections in a year.

Due to the Coronavirus crisis in Israel and the world, Gantz was willing to compromise and join Likud, thus dissolving Blue and White. The Israel Resilience Party won 15 mandates during the last election in March, and took them with him to form a unified emergency government with Likud. The other parties from the left, which were joined with Blue and White, remained in the opposition.

Also in the opposition are the Arabic Joint List, and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party. The traditional party of the left, Labor, were divided on the new government. Two of their three members, who ran alongside Meretz and Gesher in March, voted for the new government. MK Merav Michaeli abstained.

The leaders of the Yamina party— Naftali Bennett, the current Minister of Defense, and Ayalet Shaked, the former Minister of Justice— decided to remain in the opposition. Neither were satisfied with the government portfolios which were reportedly offered to them. Besides the power of the support of their voters, ministerial positions give their voters a greater say in Israel politics.

Netanyahu will remain Prime Minister for the next 18 months. Afterward, Gantz will take this position. Netanyahu will also remain in the government until the next elections. The last pieces of the new government puzzle are being put together as the appointment of ministerial positions are being completed.

The members of the right-wing, zionist Yamina party have chosen not to join in the new government, instead to be part of the opposition.

Yuli Edelstein will be Minister of Health. Yuval Steinitz will be Minister of Education. Amir Ohana will take the position of Public Security Minister, and Miri Regev will receive the position of Minister of Transportation. All are members of the Likud Party.

The new government will be the 35th government in Israeli history. Finalizing the agreement between Gantz and Netanyahu on the Ministeral appointments is the prerequisite before swearing in the new government in the Knesset. Throughout the period of compromise between Gantz and Netanyahu, there has been a battle between all sides for these Ministerial positions.

Yamina, which was always behind Netanyahu, occupied three vital positions in his government: Education, Transportation, and Defense. All of these positions were taken away from them in the formation of the new government. For this reason, they chose to be part of the opposition.

Netanyahu would not compromise with them, and attacked the leaders of the Yamina party. Netanyahu said that they were not loyal to Israel, especially when Israel will be making annexations of the West Bank and Jordan Valley. Yamina, a religious Zionist party, has supported annexation more than any other party. Now, due to politics, they have taken opposition.

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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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