Although Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition, it doesn't mean he's out of the game just yet.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz a new proposal to join a unity government on Thursday but was rebuffed as time runs out for the Israeli leader. The proposed government would have included Netanyahu’s Likud party and its allies on the religious right. Gantz dismissed the offer, saying Netanyahu “is not seeking unity but immunity” ahead of his possible indictment in three criminal cases. Netanyahu has until next Thursday, Oct. 24, to form a government before President Reuven Rivlin tasks Gantz to try to form a government. Gantz's party came in first in last month's Knesset elections, winning 33 seats to the Likud's 32.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is misleading the people when he claims that only a unity government would be apt to tackle the Iran threat.
Many right and center-left voters liked what Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman offered them in the last election campaign: a secular unity government that would end religious coercion.
Israel swears in a new Knesset today even as the country struggles to form a new government. Almost all of the members of the previous Knesset, which lasted just five months, will be returning, as only 17 of 120 lawmakers were freshly elected in September’s vote. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman this morning as Netanyahu tries to convince Liberman and his secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party to join him in a coalition government. The meeting was planned after unity government talks between Netanyahu's Likud and its main rival, the Blue and White party of Benny Gantz, ended without result.
Netanyahu himself did not attend last week’s hearing as his Likud party focused on advancing coalition talks. With talks with the Likud’s main rival, the centrist Blue and White party, at a standstill, Netanyahu has been courting the secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu of former Defense Secretary Avigdor Liberman. Liberman’s party said on Wednesday that if Likud and Blue and White fail to reach a power-sharing agreement by Yom Kippur, it would present its own offer for a unity government. Liberman has so far declined to back either candidate for the mission of forming the next government, insisting that he would support only a secular unity government, without the ultra-Orthodox parties. It is now widely believed that Netanyahu will hand back to President Reuven Rivlin the mandate for forming a new government before the 28-day deadline expires and push for new elections.
Jacob Nagel | Visiting Fellow
A week after Israel’s legislative elections, President Reuven Rivlin has chosen Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a first attempt at forming a government, but a path to a majority coalition remains difficult.
This coming week will prove crucial for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he tries to assemble a government while facing a likely indictment on fraud charges. The Israeli leader has been summoned by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit for a pre-indictment hearing on corruption charges starting Wednesday. The two-day hearing offers Netanyahu the chance to plead his case and to convince Mandelblit to cancel impending indictments against him, or at least reduce the charges. At the moment, Netanyahu is expected to be charged for fraud and breach of trust in two cases and of receiving bribes in a third one. Netanyahu remains defiant and asked that the proceedings be aired live so he can tell the public “my side,” but Mandelblit’s office turned him down.
Meanwhile, representatives of Netanyahu’s Likud and its main rival, the Blue and White party, continue negotiations on forming a national unity government following inconclusive elections earlier this month. The Blue and White party has rejected a proposal from President Reuven Rivlin for a power-sharing deal. Rivlin has also proposed amending the law to create the status of “interim prime minister” for Blue and White leader Benny Gantz in case Netanyahu is indicted. The party’s leadership reiterated in recent days its electoral commitment not to form a government with Netanyahu.
Nevertheless, the two parties are pursuing talks following Rivlin’s decision to give Netanyahu the first shot at trying to put a new government together. Netanyahu himself has acknowledged that in the current deadlocked situation, chances are slim for the establishment of a majority coalition. Talks will be suspended Sunday through Tuesday for the Jewish New Year, resuming on Wednesday. Netanyahu has 28 days to negotiate a majority coalition, but the president can accord him a two-week extension. After that, Rivlin may task another candidate with the mission. The political stalemate, however, could also force a third election in less than a year.
By BENNY AVNI, Special to the Sun | September 17, 2019
TEL AVIV -- Left or right? War or diplomacy? Socialism or free-market economy? Tuesday's election here is about none of these. It's about Bibi.
Israel's politics nowadays seem almost as crazy as Britain's, but unlike the Mother of Parliaments, which can't sort out London's relationship with Brussels, the Knesset's biggest issue was merely to decide whether to keep or oust Benjamin Netanyahu -- the leader who this summer became the country's longest-serving prime minister. Its inability to settle that triggered a new election.
Despite the disappointing numbers emerging from Israel's election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is telling his supporters that he is not done yet and that he intends to fight.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today called on his rival Benny Gantz of the Blue and White party to join him in a unity government to avoid a possible third vote in a row. Gantz, however, has previously refused to govern alongside Netanyahu, who is under investigation in three corruption probes. With nearly all votes counted in Tuesday's election, the Likud has won 31 Knesset seats while its rival Blue and White party has 33. A majority of 61 out of 120 seats are needed to form a government. The tight race leaves the secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party of former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who refuses to sit with Netanyahu's ultra-Orthodox allies, as the apparent kingmaker with eight seats. Meanwhile, the predominantly Arab Joint List, with 13 seats, has yet to decide whether to back Gantz.
Netanyahu's remarks come a day after he canceled his trip to the UN General Assembly after his Likud party and its allies failed to garner enough votes to form a government. Foreign Minister Israel Katz will address the world body in New York instead. Read More
The electoral blocs centered around Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and its rival Blue and White party both failed to reach a majority of 61 Knesset seats in Tuesday's do-over election, according to preliminary results. That leaves Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beitenu party as kingmaker with nine seats. Liberman, a former minister of defense, has called for a “national, liberal, broad” unity government including his party, the Likud and Blue and White while rejecting the participation of Netanyahu's ultra-Orthodox allies.
Addressing his supporters early his morning, Netanyahu did not concede defeat or claim victory but promised to seek the formation of a new "Zionist" government that excludes Arab parties. President Reuven Rivlin said Tuesday that he will press party leaders to quickly form a new government. Rivlin's office said that his nomination of a candidate to form the next government would be guided in part by the need to avoid a third election, after two votes in five months.
Editorial of The New York Sun | September 17, 2019
by Daniel Kurtzer via The Caravan
Protracted conflicts are protracted for a reason. They involve deeply-held grievances; ethnic, religious or ideological animosities; territorial disputes; boundary issues; political power struggles; clashes over the distribution of wealth; and competing narratives; among other factors. Protracted conflicts are not static, but rather evolve over time. Conflict management and mitigation, a strategy for dealing with conflicts that appear impervious to resolution, miss the point; for these strategies often do not take into account evolving changes through which conflicts pass.
How To Think About Israeli-Palestinian Peace
by Dennis Ross via The Caravan
I have worked on trying to resolve or ameliorate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in formal and informal capacities since the 1980’s. Through two intifadas (uprisings) and the Oslo process, I have seen the conflict in its human terms and the toll it takes. There were certainly times in the 1990’s when it seemed to be possible to settle the conflict. Even after the Second Intifada, which imposed such a terrible price on both Israelis and Palestinians, I believed that the gaps between the two sides were bridgeable.