If there was not a curfew in Israel because of the Corona crisis, half of the Israelis would have stormed the streets on Thursday evening to protest: those who voted for the Blue and White Alliance in the March 2 elections have to vote out Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister.
Benny Gantz of the Blue and White Alliance was elected President of the Israeli Parliament on Thursday, paving the way for an “emergency” unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fight the Corona crisis.
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The Gantz alliance split shortly before the vote after the party leader nominated himself for the post of President of the Parliament to preserve the possibility of a unity government with Netanyahu’s Likud party.
Two other heads of blue and white, Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon, criticized Gantz’s step violently. “The crisis,” said Lapid at a press conference on Thursday evening: “does not give us the right or permission to give up our values. We promised not to sit under a prime minister with triple charges. We said we would not allow anyone to undermine Israel’s democracy. ”Lapid and Ya’alon submitted a request on Thursday to dissolve the alliance. Your two factions will continue to run under the name “Blue and White”.
Maneuvers in parliament
Israel has been in a political impasse since April 2019. On March 2, the Israelis went to the polls for the third time in a year. The central campaign promise of the Blue and White Alliance, referring to Netanyahu’s indictment in three corruption cases, was never to join a government led by Netanyahu and to replace Netanyahu as prime minister.
In his first speech as President of Parliament, Gantz advocated a “government of emergency national unity.” “These are not normal times,” he told the Knesset: “and they call for unusual decisions.” He stressed that he “would not endanger democracy”. , did not directly address Netanyahu’s upcoming trial and Netanyahu’s attempts to thwart this trial.
Blue and White had originally planned to nominate Meir Cohen, a member of Lapid’s Yesh Atid Group, for the office of President of Parliament. The Likud said that the election of Cohen would immediately put an end to talks about forming a unity government with Kahol Lavan.
Since Gantz is aiming for a grand coalition with Netanyahu, he vetoed Cohen to keep this option open and instead proposed himself for office.
Sharp criticism of Gantz from the center-left block
The right block under Netanyahu welcomed Gantz’s decision. “I congratulate Benny Gantz on the courageous move to form a unity government under Netanyahu,” said Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the Yamina party.
Criticism hailed from the center-left block. Gantz had “become a collaborator with the accused [Netanyahu],” said the leader of the Meretz party, Nitzan Horowitz: “Gantz built on one promise: an alternative leadership. Entering Netanyahu’s government means spitting and betraying the voters of blue and white and the entire center-left block. ”
Meanwhile, negotiations on the grand coalition between Gantz’s group of 15 MPs and Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc of 58 MPs are ongoing. The prime ministerial post will initially fall to Netanyahu for 18 months, Gantz would initially be a foreign minister and would then assume the post of prime minister in September 2021. However, it is unlikely that this transfer of office will actually take place.