After a dramatic U-turn, Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz was elected Knesset speaker Thursday evening as part of an emerging unity deal, breaking up his centrist alliance to enter a government with his longtime foe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Receiving the full support of the right-wing bloc, Gantz was elected to the speaker’s post with the backing of 74 MKs. Eighteen voted against and the rest, including Yesh Atid, a faction within Blue and White, did not participate.
According to the reported deal taking shape, Gantz is set to partner with Netanyahu in a unity government, serving initially as foreign or defense minister and then taking over from Netanyahu as prime minister in September 2021. Gantz is expected to resign the speakership after a unity government is formed, to be replaced by a Likud MK.