President entrusts Netanyahu with forming government

Acting on the advice of 72 MKs, the president Thursday night, May 7 asked Binyamin Netanyahu to set up a new government based on his partnership with Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz. Following legislation and a High Court waiver of petitions against Netanyahu and their deal, their national unity government is set to be sworn in next Wednesday. The lineup of ministers is still in negotiation.

DEBKAfile reported earlier:

These steps came together to finally remove the threat of a fourth election and end more than a year of political impasse and uncertainty, aggravated by the coronavirus epidemic. Benny Gantz accordingly sent a letter to President Reuven Rivlin asking him to name his former rival Netanyahu as prime minister.

After spending two days hearing eight petitions, the eleven judges led by President Esther Hayut decided unanimously that “for now,” they had no cause to intervene either in Netanyahu’s appointment under indictment on corruption charges or the coalition accord, given the amendments and clarifications offered by the two partners. There was no legal impediment to accord’s implementation, the judges ruled, although some of its provisions were “problematic.” They singled out the plan for Kahol Lavan ministers to pass their Knesset seats to faction members lower down on the slate, which was criticized for “retroactively changing the rules of the game and the right to vote and be elected and eroding the standing of the opposition.” However, said the judges, now is not the time to review these difficulties. This was a neat compromise by which the high court reacted obliquely to charges of inappropriate intervention in the political process without rescinding plans to intervene in the future.

The lawmakers just met the deadline of midnight Thursday for submitting a candidate for prime minister to the President and so escaping a new election. The new national emergency government must roll up its sleeves to put the economic back on track after the devastation wrought by the coronavirus. This week, business, the workforce and schools had begun struggling back on their feet as infection figures continued to slide.

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