Benny Gantz (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli parliament, Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Yonatan Sindel-Flash90)
Benny Gantz (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli parliament, Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Yonatan Sindel-Flash90)

Israel gets ‘emergency national unity government,’ its first stable government in over a year

The Knesset passed legislation on Thursday to allow the formation of an emergency unity government, giving Israel its first stable government in more than a year.

Hours before the final vote, the Supreme Court issued a decision Wednesday night that did not object to the agreement that formed the coalition between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and the Blue and White coalition headed by Benny Gantz. The court also struck down lawsuits that would have prevented a lawmaker under indictment from forming and leading a government. Netanyahu is facing a trial on corruption charges.

The legislation approved by the parliament included amendments to two quasi-constitutional Basic Laws.

Later Thursday, party representatives sent to President Reuven Rivlin the signatures of 72 Knesset members recommending that Netanyahu be tasked with forming a “emergency national unity government.” Thursday midnight was the deadline for lawmakers to recommend someone to form a new government before triggering the nation’s fourth elections in about a year.

Under the coalition agreement, Netanyahu will serve as prime minister for the next 18 month and Gantz will then take over for the 18 months.

Likud and Blue and White said in a statement to reporters issued late Wednesday night that the new government will be sworn in on May 13.

The amendments to the Basic Laws were approved by a vote of 72-36 with abstentions from the far-right Yamina party and some lawmakers from Yisrael Beiteinu, including its head Avigdor Lieberman. One Labor party lawmaker abstained as well, though the Labor party has joined the coalition.

Marcy Oster
Marcy Oster

Israel-based JTA correspondent


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