With Joe Biden possibly the U.S. president come January 20, many Likudniks think it’s now or never for a West Bank land grab
A criminal defendant will stay prime minister. Netanyahu has been rewarded, not punished, for his misuse of power in recent days. The exclusion of the Arab minority continues. And more than a million Israelis who voted for Blue and White have received a brutal lesson in political cynicism.
In all of this, Gantz is now Netanyahu’s partner.
„The coronavirus pandemic appears to be accomplishing something that three elections couldn’t — it’s forcing Israel’s deeply divided leaders to put the health and safety of the nation ahead of their own political fortunes,“ Israeli-American political analyst and author Joel Rosenberg told CNBC over the weekend.
The word “magician” is too weak to describe this stunning achievement, which isn’t solely a result of his political abilities. His magic, as in countless other occasions during his long career, was mixed with something else – destiny. Cosmic wizardry.
The coronavirus pandemic arrived with inconceivably perfect timing from his perspective, a moment before the bloc elected by his opponents – which originally numbered 62 Knesset members – began pushing through laws that would have prevented him from running for prime minister.
The Blue and White alliance finalized its split Sunday, which saw Benny Gantz-led faction, set to form a unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, divorcing fellow centrist parties Telem and Yesh Atid, who will remain in opposition.
Lapid, who heads Yesh Atid, told journalists at a press conference that „Benny Gantz decided today to break apart Blue and White and crawl into Netanyahu’s government.“
„What’s being formed today isn’t a unity government and not an emergency government. It’s another Netanyahu government. Benny Gantz surrendered without a fight,“ he added.
Gantz was a source of hope to millions of Israelis yearning to put an end to Netanyahu’s rule, which is crushing democracy while tearing the population to shreds. On Thursday their hope was shattered, to the laughter of the opposing camp, the one that led the country into moral corruption and that has now added another soldier to its ranks and bought about the disintegration of the alternative.
Benny Gantz could have made history by forming a minority government with the support of the Palestinian parties. Instead he dismantled his own political camp and joined his rival.
Lapid lambasted Gantz’s actions as „a betrayal to voters and a theft of votes.“
Horovitz added that Gantz was “spitting in the face” of his voters with his latest decision.
The Meretz leader called on others in the left bloc to not support this move.
In a dramatic turn of events, the Blue and White Party that served as the alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the March 2 election, broke up on Thursday after party head Benny Gantz decided to enter Netanyahu’s government.
Israel’s Supreme Court ordered a Thursday vote to elect a new Knesset (Israeli Parliament) speaker after Yuli Edelstein announced his resignation Wednesday, allowing senior MKAmir Peretz to lead the plenary.
The court decided late Wednesday night to hold the vote Thursday.
In the ruling, Supreme Court President Justice Esther Hayut attacked Edelstein, saying he had committed „an unprecedented violation of the rule of law.“ Hayut had strongly criticized Edelstein’s decision to lock the plenary contrary to the court’s decision.
Earlier, the High Court debated a petition to accuse Edelstein of dishonoring the court, after he resigned earlier Wednesday, locking the Knesset plenum contrary to the court’s decision, which ruled that a new Speaker will be selected by Wednesday midnight.
Never before has such a senior public official – Edelstein is second in line to President Rivlin in the state’s official hierarchy – thumbed his nose so directly at Israel’s judicial system, sparking an unprecedented constitutional crisis in the midst of the coronavirus crisis which is plaguing both Israel and the world.
There’s no direct analogy, of course, with the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that spurred FDR to make his famous “infamy speech” while asking Congress to approve a declaration of war against Japan – other than in the potential if not existential threat that Edelstein’s move poses to Israel’s future.
This prompted the High Court to convene urgently to decide how to move forward, with proceedings seemingly set to extend into the night.
According to Knesset protocols, Edelstein’s resignation will come into effect within 48 hours. The Knesset won’t be able to vote on a new Knesset speaker until then, and Edelstein said that the Knesset will not be able to convene for a vote until Monday. Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan is looking into ways to circumvent the protocols and appoint an acting Knesset speaker.
Nach starkem Druck der Opposition zu seiner Ablösung hat Israels Parlamentspräsident Juli Edelstein heute seinen Rücktritt erklärt. Der Schritt erfolgte vor einer erwarteten Abstimmung über einen neuen Parlamentspräsidenten. Das höchste Gericht in Jerusalem hatte festgelegt, die Wahl müsse spätestens heute abgehalten werden.
While last week Gantz agreed in principle to join a unity government with Likud that would be headed by Netanyahu for a limited period until Gantz replaced him, he has pulled back following criticism from supporters.
“First, we will get Israeli democracy back to working – and later we will form a government that will deal with the coronavirus and the other challenges that are on the line,” Gantz wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “We must not let the coronavirus crisis, which requires thorough attention – medical, social and economic – trample over Israeli democracy. Not on my watch.”
Other special committees to be established will focus on education, violence in Israeli Arab communities and labor and welfare; the four special panels will need to be approved by the plenum Tuesday.
These included Finance and Foreign Affairs and Defense panels, with the latter set to establish a special committee that will supervise the contentious Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency)-led coronavirus patients surveillance program.
Hanegbi, who heads the Agriculture Ministry, and Elkin, minister for Jerusalem affairs and environmental protection, are joining Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Likud parliamentarian Gideon Sa’ar, who is known as a Netanyahu rival, in supporting the court’s decision.
Despite also voicing criticism of the ruling, on Monday Erdan said „we must respect the ruling or else resign ourselves to anarchy,“ while Sa’ar stressed that calls not to accept a direct court ruling are „unacceptable.“
A lawmaker from Benny Gantz’s party was appointed as the chairman of a crucial Knesset committee and the Knesset approved two additional committees late Monday night, allowing the parliament to begin its work following Israel’s March 2 election…
Crazy turn of events.
The High Court ruled in a unanimous decision Monday that Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein must convene the Knesset no later than Wednesday, to elect his replacement.
The right-wing bloc aligned with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boycotted the vote, excluding Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein who abstained and Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Gallant, who attended as a representative of the government, but did not participate in the vote.
The composition of the arrangements committee will give the center-left bloc a one seat advantage with 9 members, relative to the right-wing bloc’s eight members.
Israel’s High Court of Justice approved Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) Speaker Yuli Edelstein’s request to submit his answer today at 9 pm (local time) regarding whether he will convene a parliamentary vote for his replacement.
Throughout Israel’s 72-year existence, the Knesset Speaker had only been replaced once a new government was sworn in. Thus, replacing Edelstein before a government is formed would represent an unprecedented move, even with a majority vote.
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the country’s parliament to reconvene for the selection of a new speaker, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he tries to steer the country through the coronavirus crisis and fend off a looming corruption trial.
The current speaker, Yuli Edelstein of Netanyahu’s Likud party, suspended the parliament’s activities last week, citing procedural issues and restrictions on large gatherings due to the virus.
Edelstein, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, last week suspended parliamentary activities, preventing the newly elected legislature from choosing a new speaker and forming committees critical to the country’s fight against coronavirus.
Monday is an important test for Israeli democracy. The Knesset is due to resume its deliberations amidst the political crisis and the spread of the coronavirus.
If the Knesset chairman Yuri Edelstein, backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political hatchetmen from Likud, continue with their delay tactics to prevent the legislative branch performing its duty, Israel will win the dubious title of the only „parliamentary democracy“ to fail to recognize the results of its last democratic general election and to be governed by an inoperative parliament.
He said Bar Siman Tov, who as the ministry’s director general should be leading this process, is instead collaborating with Netanyahu and stifling anyone opposed to Netanyahu’s approach.
Since Bar Siman Tov has no medical training, the ministry’s top medical authority is its deputy director general, Prof. Itamar Grotto. Its other key official is Dr. Boaz Lev, a former director general at the ministry who now heads its epidemic task force.
But anyone talking to these two men in recent days has had trouble getting clear answers. The reason, according to Health Ministry sources, is that they don’t know the answers because the decisions are being made without them.
Under the cover of a pandemic, he is transforming himself from lame-duck prime minister to unelected strongman. He and his henchmen have shut down parliament, enacted extreme “security” measures without legislative oversight and shelved the courts just as Netanyahu was about to go on trial for corruption.
I don’t use the word “coup” lightly. But any weaker description of Netanyahu’s assault on Israeli democracy is a refusal to absorb and report the truth.
Since a majority of Knesset members – 61 out of 120 – oppose the government, Edelstein was dispatched to block the activity of the legislature and prevent it from voting in a new speaker. It is inconceivable that a temporary speaker would use his authority to set the agenda in order to prevent the selection of a permanent speaker. It is parliamentary bullying, and it must stop immediately.
On top of all that, this would be political idiocy of the highest order, because sooner or later, Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi will discover what their colleagues in Kahol Lavan’s cockpit, Moshe Ya’alon and Yair Lapid, have already learned through bitter experience: That Netanyahu is exactly what people say of him – a liar, devoid of credibility and dangerous to Israel, just as Kahol Lavan’s leadership so ably explained in election after election. And then, when people once again seek an alternative, nobody in Kahol Lavan’s electorate will give it their vote.
For years and years, we wondered when the occupation would come home.
It happened this week.
As the settlers once said in a different context: Yesha Zeh Kan – Judea, Samaria and Gaza are here.
One set of laws for the tyrant’s allies. Another set of laws for everyone else. Innocent civilians hounded. Their persecutor – never held accountable.
Raise the black flag. Stand up to the tyrant.
This is the fitting flag for this new Israel.
Panic over the coronavirus, justified as it may be, mustn’t blind the public from seeing how the temporary prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and members of his party are exploiting the crisis to hold onto power. Through their management of the coronavirus crisis, Netanyahu and his government are neutralizing the justice system and quarantining the legislature.
These special means include gathering data about a person’s location via their cellphone and additional technological information using secret tools, and cross-referencing all of the data.
The process identifies all of the contacts coronavirus patients have had and the places they were, whether they are aware of it or not.
Protesters said they were angry at anti-democratic measures being taken to fight the coronavirus outbreak, such as this week’s decision to use cyber measures to track the location of people diagnosed with the virus as well as suspected coronavirus patients, in addition to strict restrictions to achieve social distancing, such as barring thousands of people from leaving their homes.
Further, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein dispersed parliament on Wednesday, deepening the paralyzation of Israel’s legislative body, which critics have seen as an attack on the checks and balances within Israel’s democratic institutions.
Blue and White expressed outrage, accusing Edelstein of „trampling Israeli democracy at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s behest.“ The party said it would appeal to the Supreme Court against Edelstein on Thursday to force him to convene the plenum and „end the craziness.“
We are about to let the government gain absolute control over our lives – and thus know who we are, where we have been, when and with whom and who we speak to and when – without any form of consent or restriction.
By preventing the formation of the organizing committee, Speaker Yuli Edelstein also hampers the formation of the Knesset oversight committees on the coronavirus crisis
Edelstein has effectively prorogued parliament and with a total coronavirus shutdown expected in Israel any day now, politicians and political commentators have argued that the speaker’s actions have engendered one of Israel’s severest constitutional crises ever.
„The manner of how the inauguration will take place will be decided after another assessment tomorrow with relevant professionals,“ Edelstein said.
Replacing Edelstein could let Kahol Lavan push through legislation to prevent Netanyahu from forming a government while under indictment
Fear is the tyrant’s best friend – and liberty’s worst enemy. The human instinct for survival is more powerful than any social commitment to decency, due process, separation of powers or the nuances of democracy. As philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote: “Neither a man, nor a crowd, nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.”
Fear was the instrument wielded most by 20th century tyrants, dictators and authoritarians. It provided them with pretext to remove restrictions, expand authority and to diminish, if not destroy, checks and balances.
Benny Gantz – the main rival to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – has been given the chance to form a new coalition government in Israel.
Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party won more seats than Mr Gantz’s Blue and White in the general election. But Mr Gantz was backed by a thin majority of lawmakers.
“Tomorrow, around midday, the president will assign the task of forming the government to head of (centrist Blue and White party) Benny Gantz,” President Reuven Rivlin’s office said in a statement.
His subjects, thanks to the terrifying television broadcasts, have become a hysterical herd. They have gone into war mode. It’s as if this war fell out of the sky as a gift to Netanyahu. But it’s not just luck. It’s also brains. Netanyahu refused to resign and refused to give up. Campaign after campaign, he grasps at his seat like a drowning person grasps at driftwood floating in the middle of the sea. He grasps and grasps and refuses to let go, until the ship comes along to carry him to safe haven, the corona ship.
The party has rejected this option in the past on principle that Netanyahu should not serve as premier because of his indictment in corruption cases.
The trial was set to begin on Tuesday. It has now been pushed back to May 24.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz have repeatedly spoken of winning a “Jewish majority” in the election, a deeply controversial notion that in spirit delegitimizes the votes of Arab citizens of Israel. However senior lawmakers from Blue & White met with their counterparts from the Joint List on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of the latter’s recommending Gantz as prime minister during consultations with President Reuven Rivlin tomorrow (Sunday, March 15). Gantz, the head of Blue & White, needs the support of the Joint List to show he has enough backing to form a government. Before the Corona crisis, Gantz had adamantly refused to join a government headed by Netanyahu as long as he is under indictment.
Next Tuesday, March 17, Netanyahu’s trial will commence in the Jerusalem District Court.
With a flimsy tissue, video images of an inflamed nose dispersing microscopic nasal discharge and an apocalyptic tone of voice, Benjamin Netanyahu is squeezing every ounce of political and propaganda benefit out of the coronavirus at a time of uncertainty and anxiety about the future. This is his big moment.
According to a statement from Netanyahu’s bureau on Friday morning, the premier stressed to Gantz during their nighttime meeting that „terror supporters“ cannot be part of said government, neither in normal circumstances nor in emergency.
The comment seems to be implicitly refering to members of the Arab-majority Joint List, the third largest party in the Knesset, which Netanyahu heavily vilified during Israel’s numerous election campaigns over the last year.
Kahol Lavan leader says ‚emergency‘ government should ‚include all parts of the house‘ ■ Party officials believe that the health emergency would make it difficult for Gantz to gain legitimacy to promote political moves
Trump’s handling of the crisis has undermined public confidence in his presidency and is seen as a potentially major obstacle on his way to reelection; Netanyahu has scored rave reviews even among major critics for his forthrightness and resoluteness: The coronavirus may yet save his moribund political career.
„Unite now, fight later,“ Bennett said at a Tel Aviv press conference in which he proposed passing a bill to freeze the current political situation for six months.
Liberman suggested a government of only Likud and Blue and White to deal with the coronavirus on Thursday in an interview with the Russian-language Channel 9.
Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, is desperate to remain in office because installing a new government would give him an important political boost and potentially allow him to legislate his way out of the legal quagmire.
His opponent, Benny Gantz, refused to sit with him in government and appears poised to push for legislation in the incoming parliament that would bar anyone indicted for a crime from leading a government – in effect disqualifying Netanyahu from his position.
Peretz said that he was still in touch with Orly Levy-Abekasis and was hoping to come to an accord regarding the steps to be taken in the future.
However, one of the Labor-Gesher-Meretz faction heads announced earlier that she would not back a minority government. Orly Levy-Abecassis also said she was pulling her party out of the left-wing alliance.
Levi-Abekasis decided on her own to opt for a political renewal and move from the right to the left. Naturally, her move triggered much suspicion, but she, Peretz and their partners dismissed these misgivings with disdain, even alleging anti-Mizrahi racism against anyone doubting that Levi-Abekasis had ideologically abandoned the right. After many efforts at convincing people, and based on the promises by the Labor-Gesher-Meretz alliance, people voted for the union she had joined.
Levi-Abekasis has the right to regret her transition.
But Orli Levi-Abekasis, a balloon inflated with self-importance, someone devoid of ideology, with no electoral clout, a deceiving scoundrel, robbed the center-left bloc’s voters of this rare opportunity, probably triggering a fourth election.
Benny Gantz intends to form a government and have it sworn in by March 23, a source familiar with the Kahol Lavan leader’s plan told Haaretz on Tuesday.
Kahol Lavan’s raison d’etre is to bring the era of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a close. It’s no coincidence that they’ve been dubbed the “Just Not Bibi” party. The glue holding the party’s disparate parts together is the absolute certainty of Benny Gantz, and the factions to his left (Yesh Atid) and his right (Telem), that for Israel’s good, Netanyahu must be replaced. That’s why the party was founded, and that’s why people voted for it.
Earlier the Kahol Lavan leader met with Lieberman, agreeing that the main goal is to avoid a fourth round of elections ■ Gantz to hold meeting with all four leaders of Joint List faction Tuesday
Kahol Lavan confirmed Sunday night that party representatives were in contact with Yisrael Beiteinu and the Joint List over efforts to form a minority government with their support.
A source in Kahol Lavan said nothing will be said to the media “until it’s certain and finalized.”
The Joint List of Arab Israeli parties will meet Sunday to discuss the matter of recommending Kahol Lavan chairman Benny Gantz to form Israel’s next government, as well as whether to back a bill that would prevent a criminally indicted candidate from receiving such a mandate.
„Agreed. We need to move forward,“ Gantz tweeted in response a list of demands that the Yisrael Beiteinu leader listed earlier Sunday in a Facebook post.
Joint List MK and Balad Chairman Mtanes Shehadeh said Saturday following Gantz and Netenyahu’s statements that „the arab community has spoken, they want a change in their position and aim for an end to discrimination and racism. Netanyahu would die to disqualify them but could not, and Gantz would have liked to ignore them but he couldn’t.“
Previously, he reportedly opposed this idea, but now said during at least two recent meetings that he would be willing to back it on the condition that Joint List’s hardline Balad faction is left out.
Israel’s right didn’t get the victory it expected – but at least there’s corona ■ Netanyahu’s 2020 achievement: Boosting the Joint List ■ Left and right, Naftali Bennett and Amir Peretz are waging the same war
Announcement means center-left, Joint List bloc will have 62 Knesset seats to pass bill
Am 2. März ist eine dritte Parlamentswahl angesetzt. Nach Einschätzung des Politik-Experten Amir Fuchs wird vor einer Regierungsbildung nach der Wahl kein Komitee zustande kommen. Eine Abstimmung über die Immunität könne damit möglicherweise erst im Mai stattfinden.