JERUSALEM (JTA) – Since his blue and white party was about to break up, its leader Benny Gantz was elected spokesman for the Israeli Knesset on Thursday evening.
Gantz was asked to form a coalition government after the elections earlier this month. This is Israel’s third vote in less than a year.
His party’s split is due to a debate about joining a unified government, initially led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
What does it mean: A unified government would provide Israel with a permanent government – something the nation hadn’t had in a year – as it battles the current coronavirus crisis. However, it is not clear how stable the government would be. Talks on the unity government are reported to continue.
The Israeli media reported that Gantz would hold the position of spokesman for a short period until a unified government was formed. According to ReportsNetanyahu initially served as Prime Minister for 18 months, Gantz as Foreign Minister before taking over Netanyahu.
Gantz was elected spokesman with 74 to 18 votes, with 28 legislators not appearing for voting. The entire right block was right for him.
On Thursday, Gantz declared himself a candidate to become a spokesman to preserve the possibility of forming a unified government. He succeeds Yuli Edelstein, who resigned a day earlier after closing parliament for a few days because he had lost his post and pushed for a unified government. Critics said Edelstein is undermining Israel’s democracy.
The right bloc agreed to support Gantz as spokesman, tacit recognition of support for a unity government with the former military chief, while Avigdor Liberman and his party Israel Beiteinu, as well as the mostly Arab joint list, would reportedly join the list in new blues and whites the opposition.
On Thursday afternoon, Yair Lapid and Moshe Yaalon, the two leaders of blue and white, submitted an application to the Gnessz to abort Gantz. Lapid and Yaalon are reported to continue to use the names blue and white, while Gantz is likely to use the name of his party’s resilience.
Blue and White had initially said it would assist Meir Cohen from Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party as a speaker. Cohen should use the position to drive another wedge with Netanyahu and his Likud party by proposing laws that would prevent an accused legislator from forming a government and acting as prime minister. Netanyahu faces three corruption cases, but his trial has been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Gantz and Netanyahu reportedly continued to discuss a unity government in late Wednesday evening talks.
“Gantz has decided to crawl into the Netanyahu government,” Lapid reportedly told his Yesh Atid faction.
According to reports, a Likud member would serve as finance minister in a unified government, and Netanyahu agreed to give up the Ministry of Justice, with Yechiel Trooper of blue and white taking over.
The post Benny Gantz takes over the post of Knesset spokesman in the middle of the dissolution of his party. Is a united government approaching in Israel? first appeared on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
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