Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (center) strives for unity between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (left) and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. (Courtesy)

Netanyahu Rival Given Opportunity to Form Government

Israel is counting down 28-days during which time former army chief-of-staff Benny Gantz will weave together sixty-one legislators to form a coalition government or the nation will go to the polls for the third time since last April. Incumbent prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu cleared the way for Gantz when he returned the mandate to President Reuven Rivlin after failing for a second time to find a coalition of parties willing to serve in his government. But it’s no better than a fifty-fifty bet that Gantz – who is totally inexperienced in governing having never been elected at any level until now. It has been a decade since anyone other than Netanyahu formed a government and until Gantz succeeds, it remains possible for him to do so once more. Meanwhile, the Arab Israeli sector is emerging as a power broker as its leaders indicate the so-called “Joint List,” a bloc made up of Arab Israelis, will throw its support to the Gantz party without actually joining the government. It garnered the third-highest number of seats in the parliament.

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