In apparent victory for Netanyahu, rival Gantz drops allies, moves towards unity

In a move that appears to signal the end to Israel’s year-long political deadlock, Benny Gantz has been elected Speaker of the Israeli Parliament and declared he wishes to form an emergency national government.

The surprise move suggests Gantz is dropping his key campaign promise, in which he adamantly refused to serve in a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because of indictments of bribery and breach of trust against the Israeli leader.

With the imminent break-up of the Blue and White party that Gantz led, the former IDF Chief of Staff now looks set to take his own Israel Resilience faction into Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc to form a comfortable majority in Parliament.

“I will do the right thing at this time of emergency, Gantz said from the Speaker’s chair, adding, “the people of Israel are justifiably looking to us and expecting us to keep supporting the sacred battle against the coronavirus and its effect. And no less justifiably, they are demanding that we safeguard our democracy, our national decorum and our unity.”

“These are unusual times and they call for unusual decision,” he added.

Two of Gantz’s key political allies, Yair Lapid and Moshe Yaalon, are to make a statement later this evening, in which they are expected to say that will not join any emergency national government.