It’s been 484 days and three election cycles since Israel last had a government. Now, in a turn of events and an unlikely pairing, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, have come together under one accord.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Gantz have put their differences aside, signing a landmark agreement to form an “emergency unity government.”
The move creates the first unity in 36 years, but it was one Gantz said was “necessary in a time of national emergency to fight the coronavirus.” There have been “13,700 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 177 associated deaths reported by the Israeli health ministry,” according to the BBC.
“This is our moment of truth,” Gantz said. “It’s either a national emergency government or, God forbid, a fourth electron which would be expensive and in this crisis period, gratuitous.”
“I am working day and night, literally around the clock to fight the coronavirus,” said Netanyahu who has been working with Gantz for a couple of months now. “I saw, and see an emergency and national unity government as a necessary part of achieving victory in this war.
The Prime Minister adds that “this is the reason why I agreed, in an unprecedented manner, along with Benny Gantz to request from the President a continued extension to his mandate, because I want unity.”
According to the BBC, “the deal will see the pair rotating the leadership of the country, with Mr. Netanyahu going first as PM.”
The coalition deal was signed at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem on Monday night, as Israel remained in near-total lockdown.
"I promised the State of Israel a national emergency government that will act to save the lives and livelihoods of Israeli citizens," Mr. Netanyahu tweeted afterward.
Mr. Gantz wrote: "We have prevented a fourth election. We will protect democracy. We will fight coronavirus and care for all Israel's citizens."