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Netanyahu pushes for coalition with Gantz as hearing on corruption charges begins


Netanyahu pushes for coalition with Gantz as hearing on corruption charges begins

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Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/AFP/Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will again meet with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz today in an attempt to form a coalition government. The two leaders claimed the largest shares of the vote in September 17 elections, but each failed to secure the majority needed to govern in their own right.

Today is doubly significant for Netanyahu, who faces a pre-indictment hearing for one of the three graft charges levelled against him. Spread over two weeks, the hearings will decide whether the attorney general will indict Israel’s longest serving leader on criminal charges. Due in large part to these corruption allegations, Gantz has been reluctant to form a coalition with Netanyahu; indeed, he had previously ruled out the possibility of entering a government led by the incumbent prime minister.

While Knesset members do not enjoy automatic immunity from criminal charges, the legislature has the power to grant such immunity. Thus, Netanyahu stands a better chance of garnering Knesset immunity if he has at least half the parliament supporting him, meaning that he could be vulnerable in a coalition with Gantz.

If the two leaders do agree on a coalition, each could serve as premier for half of a term. The arrangement would however remain precarious, especially if the first-serving leader fails to transition out of the premiership smoothly.

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