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Benny Gantz expected to be granted two-week extension to finalise deal for coalition government

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Benny Gantz expected to be granted two-week extension to finalise deal for coalition government

Can Gantz form a government as Israel fights the coronavirus ...

Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash9

Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White parties have been unable to finalise a deal for an emergency unity government by today’s deadline.

Disagreements over issues like ministerial appointments and Israeli settlements in the West Bank have led to significant political deadlock for over a year.

If a pending two-week extension to the negotiations is approved by President Reuven Rivlin, the Blue and White-Likud coalition would likely form a rotating government, in which the leaders of each party act as prime minister for 18 months, beginning with Netanyahu. However, this plan is controversial: by supporting it, Gantz would break a long-time promise to his party to not rule with Netanyahu.

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An emergency unity government is becoming increasingly necessary in Israel. As of Saturday, over 10,000 cases and 100 deaths were attributed to COVID-19, and the virus shows little sign of slowing. If Gantz receives an extension, both he and Netanyahu will face immense pressure to iron out the final details of a deal in the coming two weeks.

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