THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS Part 5 – Will this go on forever?

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April 20, 2020

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WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

THE LATEST ON ISRAELI POLITICS
Part 5 – Will this go on forever?

If you think you’ve seen it all… just keep looking at Israeli politics. My favorite description of Jewish thought is, “two Jews, three opinions” That’s where they still are in trying to form a new government in light of three previous elections that provided nothing. Here’s the latest.

After talks on Gantz’s side failed to produce government by Wednesday night deadline, President Reuven Rivlin says he hopes the legislature can choose a person to form a coalition. Rivlin gives Knesset 21 days to agree on the Prime Minister it wants, or go to new election

President Rivlin informed Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz on Thursday morning that his mandate to form a government had ended, after the Blue and White party leader failed to present a government to the parliament by Wednesday night’s midnight deadline.

Rivlin announced earlier this week he would not hand the mandate to Gantz’s rival, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, but would trigger the start of the 21-day period during which the entire Knesset as a whole may select a candidate to form a government. Under Israel’s Basic Law, if the Knesset fails to agree on a candidate in the allotted three weeks, the government is automatically dissolved and new elections are called. If a candidate does secure 61 votes, that person has 14 additional days to form a government before an election must be called. Revlin chose not to give Netanyahu another 28 days in which to attempt to negotiate a government himself, as he could have done under the law. The move was widely seen as intended to force Netanyahu and Gantz to stop dithering and seal a unity deal quickly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision Thursday marks only the second time in Israel’s history that the mandate to form a governing coalition was handed to the Knesset. The first time was after the September 2019 race. Both Netanyahu and Gantz have reportedly expressed a willingness to go to a fourth election, even as the nation remains under lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Can you believe it? Consider what it would be like in America to have three national elections without producing a winner. Run chills up your back.

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82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
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Filed under COVID-19, Elections, Israel, The Middle East

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