Netanyahu, Rivlin and Gantz

  • Israel, from Supreme Court ok to government agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz
  • Israel: demonstration in Tel Aviv against Netanyahu-Gantz government
  • Israel, government agreement reached between Netanyahu and Gantz


May 07, 2020 Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has appointed Benjamin Netanyahu to form the government. With a letter, also sent to the speaker of Parliament, Rivlin informed Netanyahu that "he has 14 days to form a government". Last night the Supreme Court ruled that Netanyahu can take the lead of a new government despite being charged with corruption.

72 out of 120 MPs from the knesset spoke out in favor of Netanyahu. Among them, there are 36 MPs from Likud, 16 from Blue and White by Benny Gantz, two Labor, 16 from ultra-Orthodox parties (9 respectively from Shas and 7 from United Torah Judaism) and the two right-wing MPs who left Blue and White to form the Derech Eretz, Yoaz Hendel and Tzvi Hauser party. In Netanyahu, however, the support of the six parliamentarians of the right-wing ultra-nationalist religious party of Naftali Bennett has not arrived, which is not clear if it will enter the government, whose installation is scheduled for next Wednesday. 

The Likud leader therefore has two weeks to form the executive but as of April 20 last he has entered into an agreement with Gantz to create a government of unity which foresees the premiership in rotation for 18 months each, starting with him. The agreement states that the executive will act as an emergency government for the first six months, mainly addressing the coronavirus crisis. In the first hundred days there is a pause in the appointment of public offices. The agreement provides that Netanyahu can start plans for the annexation of part of the West Bank from July 1, in line with the American peace plan.

It was the coronavirus emergency that broke the stalemate in Israeli politics. The main issue was the role of Netanyahu, who dismisses the accusations of corruption against him as a 'witch hunt' and has always refused to take a step back, supported by Likud who confirmed him as leader. Former chief of staff, Gantz entered politics in late 2018 with the specific goal of ending the Netanyahu era and had vowed never to enter the government with him. As a "good soldier" he changed his mind in the face of the coronavirus emergency, but this cost him the split of his party. Half of his deputies abandoned him and former party number two, Yair Lapid, attacked him severely.

In the morning the Knesset approved the law that modified the Basic Laws (a sort of Constitution) to allow this shift, paving the way for the new unitary executive called to put an end to a political stalemate that has lasted for almost a year and a half. 

A letter regarding assigning the task of forming a government to MK Benjamin Netanyahu was just sent to the Prime Minister's Office and the Office of the Speaker of the Knesset was also informed, following the request of 72 Members of Knesset to the president earlier today.

- Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) May 7, 2020