Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival Benny Gantz missed the midnight deadline to reach a power-sharing deal for a national emergency government. The inability of both leaders to seal a unity deal has further deepened the political crisis in Israel amid the COVID-19 pandemic which requires a concerted effort by the government.
Netanyahu and Gantz have publicly displayed the feeling of urgency to form a unity government highlighting its necessity amid pandemic but repeatedly failed to agree to a power-sharing deal. On April 14, both leaders tweeted on the importance of a national emergency government and avoiding another election but it did not turn into anything tangible.
Gantz contested the election on the promise of not forming an alliance with Netanyahu citing the corruption charges that the Israeli Prime Minister has denied. However, another inconclusive election results have forced Gatz to go back on his promise and look for a possible coalition government claiming that the pandemic has necessitated the formation of a national emergency government.
In a letter to President, published by Blue and White party, Gantz had said that the health and social crisis have brought him to the decision that he will do all he can to establish a government with Likud, even at a ”heavy political and personal price”. Gantz received a mandate from President Rivlin to form a new government after the general election.
PM Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party won 36 Knesset seats compared to Blue and White’s 33 in the March 2 elections. However, Netanyahu's attempt to cobble up a right-wing bloc again failed. In the 120-seats strong Knesset, any party or coalition needs the support of at least 61 members to claim the government formation.
Meanwhile, Israel has reported over 12,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 132 deaths due to the infection, necessitating a stable working government as major health crisis looms large. According to the latest report, over 2 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide with more than 134,600 deaths.