Israel's Netanyahu, Gantz sign unity government agreement


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival, parliament speaker Benny Gantz, agreed to form an emergency unity government on Monday, ending the worst political crisis in the country's history.

According to Maariv, at least 1,000 people participated in the demonstration against the intention of the Blue and White opposition party to join a coalition with the Likud party.

"I promised the state of Israel a national emergency government that will act to save the lives and livelihoods of Israeli citizens", Mr Netanyahu tweeted shortly after the deal was announced.

The agreement between Netanyahu and Benny Gantz avoids the need for a fourth election in just over a year.

The two leaders have been in discussions to form a government since last month, after both failed to cobble together a coalition multiple times.

The impasse in negotiations between Gantz and Netanyahu over how their unity government would operate has nothing to do with responding to the pandemic or with the Palestinians. The talks stalled several times, reportedly over Netanyahu's personal legal problems, sparking concern that they would plunge the country into new elections. But with a slight majority of lawmakers endorsing him, Gantz was given the first shot at building a coalition government.

117m children worldwide face measles risk from COVID-19 response
Instead, he referred to WHO's origins in the first years of the U.N.'s existence and its mission of protecting public health. In that report, the World Health Organization lists some $5.6 billion in total contributions from members and foundations.

Israel has held three elections since last April; all were inconclusive, with no outright victor.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett of Yamina, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting of right-wing parties, March 4, 2020.

Gantz's decision to break his campaign promise and consider a deal with Netanyahu has angered many of his supporters and triggered the break-up of his original Blue and White alliance.

Additionally, the agreement said a deputy prime minister will be allowed to remain in office under indictment, Haaretz reported. Rivlin passed the mandate to the Knesset on Thursday, triggering a 21-day period after which new elections will be automatically called if no government is formed. He has denied any wrongdoing and portrays himself as a victim of a media and judicial witch hunt.

Netanyahu's trial on charges that include bribery, fraud and breach of trust is due to begin on May 24.

Israel, with a population of about 9 million, has so far confirmed more than 13,500 COVID-19 cases and 173 deaths.