Israel news summary

Israel News for 3-16-2020

News Update

President Rivlin today tasked Blue and White leader Benny Gantz with the mandate to form the next government, after Gantz received the recommendations of 61 Knesset members, including all of the Arab MKs. PM Netanyahu only received 58 recommendations. Gantz now has 28 days to form a government.

Gantz said, “In times like these, leaders are called upon to put aside any personal consideration. I give you my word that I will give my all to form a patriotic, broad government within a few days, a government in which I will serve the voters of all parties, on the left and the right, and the citizens of Israel as a whole. A government in which I will protect the interests of settlers in Judea and Samaria, Arab citizens, those living in outlying areas, and those living in the center. I will form a government that will cure us of the coronavirus and cure us of division and hatred.”

Gantz has pledged to form as wide of a government as possible, but he currently only has the support of Yisrael Beytenu and Labor-Meretz, while the Arab MKs have promised to support him without joining the government.

Yamina, led by Naftali Bennett and the ultra-Orthodox UTJ and Shas parties have refused to meet with Gantz. Blue and White and Likud will meet to try and negotiate a unity deal.

The PM announced the shutdown of all restaurants, cafes, hotels and shopping venues, with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations, for 5 weeks. There are currently 344 Israelis with coronavirus. But only 8,000 people have been tested so far. PM Netanyahu and President Rivlin have both tested negative.

PM Netanyahu’s criminal trial has been postponed to May 24 as a result of the corona restrictions.

The IDF has indicated that Iran is reducing its terror activities due to the coronavirus.