Israel has held three elections this year, giving Israeli citizens a sense of Deja Vu. Three times, businesses closed, and people had a day off work to go to the polls and cast their votes. But each time, no party won enough votes to hold an outright majority in parliament, and when governments couldn’t be formed, another voting date would be set. A proposal to form a joint government (often referred to as a unity government) was offered by Netanyahu to members of the Blue and White Party about a year ago. If it had been accepted earlier, the deal may have prevented Israelis from having three elections. However, one leader of the Blue and White Party, Yair Lapid, was a major force in making sure the offer was not accepted.
Yair Lapid is an avid critic of Netanyahu. In November 2019, Netanyahu was indicted on several criminal charges including bribery, fraud and breach of trust, all of which has left many Israelis, including Yair Lapid, feel that he is unfit to lead. Because of this, when a proposal for a joint government between his party and Netanyahu’s was offered, Lapid encouraged the Blue and White party not to accept it.
Now, in order to avoid a fourth election, Benjamin Gantz accepted the deal to rotate prime minister duties with Netanyahu. It was announced that he accepted the deal on April 20, and while the details are still being worked out, a few things have been decided. Netanyahu will be prime minister first with Gantz acting as a deputy prime minister. Netanyahu will form the government and serve as prime minister until September 2021. At that point, Gantz will take over as prime minister and serve until the term ends. Gantz stated that he decided to work with Netanyahu and form a unity government because of the unprecedented issues Israel is facing.
Israel is working to keep COVID-19 rates low, create vaccines to help fight the pandemic and keep terrorists at bay, all while dealing with the uncertainty of the government. Since Gantz has accepted the deal for a unity government, other members of the Blue and White party have started to break off. Their break away from Gantz and the Blue and White party has drawn both criticism and praise. Some Israelis are criticizing the Blue and White party members who have decided to partner with the Joint Arab List as a way to oppose Netanyahu. Many members of the Joint Arab List party refuse to condemn terrorism and in some cases proclaim support for acts of terrorism carried out by Hamas and Hezbollah. Not only do some members of this party condone acts of terror, some do not even acknowledge that Israel is a state. This is unthinkable to many Israelis who feel that those serving in parliament should be proud of and want the best for their country. On the other hand, some Israelis feel that any partnership necessary to remove Netanyahu from office is worth it.
While this is a developing story and many details of the plan have yet to be decided, a partnership is an innovative solution to a year with three elections that has put a stop to a fourth.Air Max