Israeli Contenders Given Two More Days to Firm-Up Unity Government
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin walked-back his warning that no additional time would be granted for challenger Benny Gantz to try to form a unity government with incumbent Binyamin Netanyahu, announcing that he is allowing two more days on the strength of Gantz’s assertion that the two men are on the verge of completing an agreement. The announcement is no small matter with the alternative most likely a fourth election the public deems too costly and distracting as the nation fights the battle against the coronavirus. The last update to emanate from the negotiators was one of “significant progress,” a political equivalent of “the check’s in the mail.” But with matters even more important to a politics-savvy public than additional political bickering and finger-pointing weighing heavily, getting a deal closed is fast becoming a nuisance while the COVID-19 scourge is existential. Gantz is citing the enormity of the health crisis as his reason for breaking his campaign vow not to sit in a Netanyahu government. Speculation leans toward a Netanyahu-lead government for 18 months with Gantz serving as defense minister. The marathon exercise in government building has already caused Gantz’s Blue and White coalition to implode.