As Israel’s Netanyahu uses coronavirus to consolidate power, his chief rival caves in

In a blow to opposition parties, Benny Gantz has broken his promises and made a deal to join Benjamin Netanyahu's "emergency government"

Jonathan Cook reports in The National, 30 March 2020:

Last week, Benny Gantz, a fomer Israeli general turned opposition leader, agreed to join his rival, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an “emergency government” to deal with coronavirus.

Two weeks ago, Mr Gantz won a thin majority in parliament, giving him first right to form a coalition government. Now he has conceded to Mr Netanyahu, who will remain in power for the next 18 months.

Over the past year, Mr Gantz fought three hotly contested – but indecisive – elections to end the Prime Minister’s 11-year rule. He had promised supporters he would never sit in government alongside Mr Netanyanhu, who is due to stand trial for corruption.

Predictably, Mr Gantz’s U-turn tore apart his Blue and White alliance; two of its three constituent parties will now join the opposition. Governmental paralysis has increased in the past year, with neither Mr Gantz nor Mr Netanyahu able to cobble together a majority coalition with other parties.

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