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Israel’s Government – important developments

At the end of March, I wrote about how happy I was that Blue and White party head Benny Gantz broke away from some of his left liberal partners to join with Netanyahu to at long last form a government. This was after President Rivlin granted Gantz the first chance to form a government and the only way he could do so was with the Joint Arab List backing him.

But in the meantime Gantz and Netanyahu have not been able to agree on who would have the various cabinet positions and there was major disagreement about how soon to implement part of President Trump’s Peace Plan that would give Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria and about allowing the Knesset to have the right of approving new judges on the Supreme Court instead of the current practice of a committee in which the current judges have the power. It has been long felt by the Right that the court is way too activist, way too liberal and that it does not favor Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The result of all of this is that what was supposed to be a unity government is not unified and cannot come to an agreement. Monday, April 13, 2020, the allotted amount of time given to Gantz to form a government ended, but the decision of the president was given after the Passover holiday ended, that is, at midnight of the 15th. The president gave the Knesset the right to form a government.

President Rivlin did not give Netanyahu the chance to form a government which to be fair, is usually done when the first person assigned fails to form a government. The reason he did not do that is partly because Netanyahu is under indictment and partly because he is blaming him, or wants him to be blamed, for not compromising enough with Gantz to have a unity government.

The right-wing members of the Yamina party had felt Gantz was asking for too much power in proportion to the low number of seats he has and that if Netanyahu should give in to him, they would leave Netanyahu to become part of the opposition. The main bone of contention was the Justice Ministry where they feared changes the previous two ministers, Shaked (Yamina) and Ohana (Likud), had instituted might be cancelled in the hands of a Blue and White minister and the second was insistence that sovereignty be declared with no delay over the parts of Judea and Samaria slated for that in the Trump Plan. If the Yamina party would not join a unity coalition, that would weaken Netanyahu and could also result in there not being the 61 seats to form a government.

President Rivlin gave the Knesset a chance to try and form a government in the next two weeks. If that is unsuccessful, which it probably will be, then there will only be the option of holding a fourth election. However, because Gantz no longer has the seats he had after the first three elections Netanyahu’s party and the other right-wing parties believe that the fourth election will result in Netanyahu having enough seats to form a government.

It is a rather complicated mess and not very easy to understand, but if you have read this far, I ask you to please do pray for the best results.

Article by Frank Mecklenburg for Arutz Sheva Israel