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Obstacles still lie ahead for Israel’s new government

April 1, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the West Bank town of Hebron, on 4 September 2019 [Kobi Gideon/GPO/Anadolu Agency]

Although representatives of the Likud and former Blue and White bloc have met to discuss the formation of a unity government in Israel, obstacles still remain as both parties appear to have pulled back from previous agreements about the distribution of ministerial posts.

An earlier meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former general Benny Gantz had to be postponed when an aide of the Likud leader tested positive for coronavirus and Netanyahu went into self-isolation.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the Likud party has been accused by former Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and the Yamina party of selling out right-wing principals. Both have threatened to switch sides and move to the opposition.

Meanwhile, the allocation of ministerial posts is still unclear. Gabi Ashkenazi, for example, has backtracked from accepting the Foreign Ministry and asked to look after the Health Ministry, but the current Minister of Health, Yaakov Litzman, insists that he will not leave his post.

READ: Netanyahu faces ouster threat from right-wing hawks

Another probable obstacle facing the unity government is the issue of imposing Israeli sovereignty over the occupied West Bank. The Likud has suggested putting this to a Knesset vote, but Blue and White officials insist that this should be postponed until after the abatement of the coronavirus crisis.

Yedioth Ahronoth also reported senior Likud ministers attacking Blue and White and saying that forming a wide-ranging government with an equal number of ministers from each party and the other right-wing parties is “illogical”. More meetings are scheduled to discuss the make-up of the 32-minister government, confirmed