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Gantz and Netanyahu speak, emergency government on the way?

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz spoke on the phone on Wednesday evening.

In the wake of the worsening of the coronavirus pandemic and the call by President Reuven Rivlin for unity, the two instructed the negotiating teams of the two parties to return to the table on Thursday to explore the possibility of forming a national emergency government.

The discussion comes after a week-long disconnect between the parties’ negotiating teams.

Earlier, President Rivlin addressed the political crisis in Israel.

“We are witnessing confrontations of the most severe kind between the judiciary and the legislature,” he said.

“And yet, despite the deep fissure between the camps and despite the ferocious rhetoric between the sides, I know that the vast majority of Israel’s leadership, from left and from right, knows that it is the duty of every one of us to obey the rulings of the courts, and that it is inconceivable that anyone would not do so.”

In a criticism of outgoing Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Rivlin said, “And even if someone is of the opinion that the court is wrong in its conduct, whatever the disagreement between us, we must always ensure that the rules of democracy, without which we are destroyed, are upheld. Now that the Speaker of the Knesset has resigned, I am sure that the order of the High Court of Justice will be implemented and Israeli democracy will emerge strengthened and more resilient from these testing times.”

He then appealed to Gantz and Netanyahu and said, “My dear ones, this is a time of trouble for Israel. I appeal to you from here, leaders of the main parties, to find a way to present a shared leadership, a responsible leadership, for Israeli society in its time of crisis. Have at the forefront of your minds the terrible disease that is assaulting us and is claiming the lives of our loved ones, that is grievously damaging Israel’s economy and the homes of so many who are battling to survive financially.”

“I know how short the distance is between you. Each side must understand the other’s red lines and to be flexible on them, on the understanding that we have – we simply do not have – an alternative. Join together for the good of the Israeli people. If not now, when?”

Header: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin read a book to children stuck at home because of the coronavirus (CVID-19) pandemic, March 19, 2020.