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Deadline for Forming Governing Coalition Extended

Labor Party to Hold Early Leadership Primaries

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14 May 2019 (All day)
Deadline for Forming Governing Coalition Extended
Monday marked the first day of the 21st Knesset, as President Reuven Rivlin granted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an additional two more weeks to form a governing coalition in light of the many holidays and other distractions since the elections on 9 April. Although Netanyahu spoke of “serious progress” in talks with potential coalition partners, Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beytenu faction used his Knesset speech on Monday to declare that he will sit in the opposition if his party’s demands are not met.

Those demands include a tougher stance towards the Islamist terror militia Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip, with Lieberman asking the rhetorical question “What is the endgame in Gaza?” before adding that “We can’t have an operation every few years and a drizzle [of rockets] in the middle. It’s intolerable. We need to focus on an endgame. No one else will do it for us.”

Liberman is also demanding that the coalition pass into law the bill to draft ultra-Orthodox (haredi) youth which he drafted in his formal role as defence minister.

In other political news, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz used his first speech before the Knesset as an elected official to compare the threats to Israel from what he characterized as Netanyahu’s undemocratic behaviour to the kinetic threats he faced when serving as a soldier in the IDF.

“Israel needs leadership that is modest and not arrogant, that is not suspected of bribery, that has time to handle the needs of the state, that verve’s all its citizens,” Gantz said. “It deserves more than a part-time prime minister, and leadership that wants to be above the law.”

Finally, the Labor faction, which held 24 seats in the previous Knesset but only picked up 6 in the most recent elections, its worst ever electoral performance, announced on Monday that it will hold primaries for a new party leader in November to replace outgoing Labor leader Avi Gabbay.

 

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