After 2 Elections and 3 Tries, Israel Is No Closer to Forming a New Government
After two deadlocked elections and three failed attempts at forming a government, Israel’s yearlong political paralysis was no closer to a cure on Wednesday, as Benny Gantz, the centrist military leader who had tried to dislodge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power, angrily admitted he had not succeeded.
Mr. Gantz’s acknowledgment hours before a midnight deadline propelled a deeply divided Israel into a new, uncharted phase of political chaos and increased the likelihood that the country would be forced to hold a third election.
As if that were not enough for Israelis to digest, there were reports Wednesday night that Mr. Netanyahu could be indicted on long-expected corruption charges as soon as Thursday, and that Israeli security officials were bracing for an escalation along the northern border after an Israeli airstrike against Iranian forces near Damascus killed at least 21 people.
Mr. Gantz, of the Blue and White party, named for the national colors, informed Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin, that he was returning the mandate to form a government, and then delivered a lengthy denunciation of Mr. Netanyahu in a televised news conference.
Directly addressing the prime minister repeatedly, Mr. Gantz lambasted Mr. Netanyahu for insisting on maintaining his “extremist” right-wing, ultrareligious bloc instead of trying to build a unity government from the center. And he accused Mr. Netanyahu of trying to foment a “civil war” by scapegoating Arab lawmakers.
“I will not cooperate with an effort to turn the majority of the people to a hostage being held by a small group of extremists,” Mr. Gantz said. “I will not be prepared to impose a radical agenda on the majority of the people who have chosen differently. And I will not accept the delegitimacy of any part of the Israeli public.”
Both Mr. Gantz and Mr. Netanyahu sought to disavow responsibility for pushing the country toward a third election which, financially, will cost Israel more than $750 million, equal to about a third of its current budget deficit, as well as the economic loss of giving the country a day off…….read more
Source: NY Times