Ins and outs of Israel’s unprecedented national emergency unity government

Israel’s 15-month political stalemate, which led to three election cycles within the course of a year, has come to a close with the signing of a unity government deal between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud Party, and Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz. The two sides are calling it a “national emergency government” in large part to manage the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which has stymied Israel along with the rest of the world.

Both leaders posted tweets upon the signing. Netanyahu wrote that the deal is a fulfillment of his promise to form a “national emergency government that will work to save lives and the livelihoods of the citizens of Israel.” Gantz tweeted that “we prevented a fourth election. We will protect democracy. We will fight the coronavirus and care for all Israeli citizens.”

Knesset member Yariv Levin, lead negotiator for the Likud now slated to serve as Speaker of the Knesset in the new government, told JNS that “this emergency government is the right thing at the right time. We need unity to deal with the country’s health and economic challenges.”