On April 20, many Israelis earnestly believed the deal was done. Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu, after 18 months of electioneering and three rounds at the ballot box and campaigns of unprecedented vilification, had signed a coalition agreement.
Some praised the agreement. About one in six Israelis told pollsters they would vote for Gantz again as he moved to join a Netanyahu-led rotation government. Some decried it, especially Gantz’s former allies in Yesh Atid and Telem, as well as many right-wing activists angered at Gantz’s haul of cabinet posts and vetoing of the right’s judicial reforms. But the consensus held that the deal was at least concluded.
And not a moment too soon. Just 17 days remained of the 21-day period for forming a government, after which a fourth election would be forced on all parties.