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Gantz to Receive Justice Portfolio in Israel’s New National Emergency Govt.

Gantz to Receive Justice Portfolio in Israel’s New National Emergency Govt.

Sunday, 5 April, 2020 - 10:30
Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White party. (Reuters)
Ramallah - Asharq Al-Awsat

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz met on Friday and reached agreement on most issues, as part of talks on forming a unity government.

A joint statement by Netanyahu's Likud and Gantz's Blue and White party said “talks have taken place in a positive and practical atmosphere,” in which they reached “agreements and made progress.”

The two instructed their negotiation teams to “try and finalize a coalition agreement as soon as possible.”

They announced that the Blue and While party will receive the defense, justice and foreign portfolios, while the internal security and Knesset chairmanship positions will be assumed by the Likud.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman is most likely to remain in his position.

In light of efforts to form a national emergency government, Gantz said his party has reached consensus with the Likud on most issues that will first and foremost ensure the “enforcement and preservation of the law.”

“However, there are a number of critical and essential issues under discussion,” he stressed, referring to the differences over balance mechanisms in the justice ministry and the sovereignty on the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The balance mechanism issue is most likely to be agreed upon, while discussions on the second issue will be postponed until the crisis of the new coronavirus outbreak in Israel is over.

“We are doing our best to form a good government,” Gantz said.

“All parties are aware that only a national emergency government will save Israel from the economic repercussions of the current epidemic.”

Netanyahu was looking forward to obtain all the sovereign portfolios in the government and the Knesset, but his rival has refused an earlier request to obtain the justice ministry, which has the power to appoint the chief prosecutor and the legal advisor to the new government.

Gantz had pledged for several months that he would not share a unity government with Netanyahu because of the PM’s indictment on corruption charges.

However, he cited the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for his recent change.

“I did what my nation needs. These are unusual times. Israel is in a state of emergency… [the population faces] a health threat that is taking human life and [causing] economic devastation…,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

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