Opposition Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said today that the formation of an emergency unity government following last week’s election, to deal with the growing coronavirus crisis “is the right thing for the State of Israel at this time”, and that he is currently waiting for an answer from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on beginning negotiations.
On Thursday evening Netanyahu had appealed to his political rivals to form an emergency government to fight the spread of the virus, inviting Gantz for talks.
In a prime-time televised speech from the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, the Israeli Prime Minister called on the Blue and White leader to take the step following a year-long political deadlock during which neither side have succeeded in forming a governing coalition. Last week’s election was the third in the space of a year.
Netanyahu said: “It would be an emergency government for a limited time, and we will fight together to save the lives of tens of thousands of citizens”.
Gantz had earlier this week been in discussions with left-wing political parties to form a minority coalition government with outside support from the Joint (Arab) List.
Yisrael Beitenu head Avigdor Lieberman, speaking earlier yesterday, floated the idea of a national unity government consisting solely of Likud and Blue and White.
Israel has 126 infected individuals as of this morning, with the country taking some of the most stringent measures in the world against the pandemic, including banning gatherings of over 100 people, effectively shutting all border crossings, and requiring mandatory quarantine for anyone returning from overseas. Netanyahu yesterday said all schools would close from grades 1 to 12.