Israel news summary

Israel News for 4-5-2021

News Update

President Reuven Rivlin began meeting with representatives of political parties today to hear their recommendations on who should be chosen to form the next government. The meeting will be held over the next 3 days. Thus far, Likud and Shas have recommended Netanyahu, Yesh Atid and Blue and White have recommended Yair Lapid, and Yamina has recommended its leader Naftali Bennett, with only 7 seats.

Just to refresh your memory, the final election results were:

Likud – 30
Yesh Atid – 17
Shas – 9
Blue & White – 8
Yamina – 7
Yisrael Beitenu – 7
United Torah Judaism (UTJ) – 7
Labor – 7
Meretz – 6
New Hope – 6
Joint Arab List – 6
Religious Zionism – 6
Ra’am – 4

PM Netanyahu has the support of Likud, Shas, UTJ and Religious Zionism for a total of 52 seats. Yair Lapid has the support of Yesh Atid, Blue and White, Yisrael Beitenu, Labor and Meretz, for a total of 45 seats. Two of the three parties in the Joint List – Hadash and Balad – have rejected Lapid, but Ta’al, which has two MKs, has not decided yet.

According to reports, Naftali Bennett has been in discussions with Yair Lapid regarding a power sharing agreement in which both men would take turns as Prime Minister. Without Bennet, there doesn’t seem to be a way for Netanyahu to get a majority to form a government. But it’s also unclear how Lapid and Bennet would get enough seats to form a government either.

Another election looks like it could be the only option.

Meanwhile, PM Netanyahu appeared in court today as the evidentiary stage of his corruption trial got underway.

Pfizer has halted a shipment of 700,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines to Israel after the government failed to approve transfer of payment for the last 2.5 million vaccines it supplied to the country. The delay in payment is apparently due to a conflict between PM Netanyahu and Alternate PM Benny Gantz.

The last, and only, living in Afghanistan is finally moving to Israel. Zabulon Simantov, 61, said he will leave after this year’s High Holidays season in the fall. His wife, a Jew from Tajikistan, and their two daughters have lived in Israel since 1998. But Simantov has stayed in his native Afghanistan to tend to its lone synagogue, in Kabul. His departure will end 2,000 years of Jewish settlement in the country.