News from the Holy land

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    The deal is done: Netanyahu and Gantz sign a coalition pact.

    Deal ends 17-month political crisis Plan calls for annexation in July.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz sign a unity government agreement.

    Israel will have a new coalition government after an agreement was signed on Monday evening between Likud and Blue and White, putting an end to a 17-month political stalemate that resulted in three elections.

    As part of the deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has served as caretaker prime minister since December 2018, will remain prime minister for another 18 months and then will be replaced in October 2021 by Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, who will serve as vice prime minister in the meantime. Netanyahu will become vice prime minister under Gantz after that – but if he leaves the Prime Minister’s Office sooner, Gantz will take over.

    “I promised the State of Israel a national emergency government that will work to save lives and livelihoods of Israeli citizens,” Netanyahu said.

    Gantz expressed his relief that an election – which would have been held on August 4 if a deal was not reached by May 7 – had been averted.

    “We prevented a fourth election,” Gantz said. “We will protect our democracy and fight against the coronavirus.”

    US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, including its clauses enabling Israel to apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, will be able to be implemented in July, when maps are set to be finalized.


    The Likud and its satellite parties will receive the Finance, Health, Internal Security, Construction, Transportation and Education portfolios. Blue and White will receive the Defense, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Economy, Communications and Culture portfolios. The Knesset speaker will be from Likud.

    The government is expected to have 36 ministers and 16 deputies, split equally between the Center-Right and Center Left. Besides Likud and Blue and White, the government will include Shas, United Torah Judaism, Labor and the Gesher Party of MK Orly Levy-Abecassis.

    Ref: Jerusalem Post, 22<sup>nd</sup> April 2020

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