Benny Gantz is forming a unity government with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after spending a year vowing to never join a government led by the indicted Israeli leader, reports from Israeli media say.
The move came after Netanyahu urged Gantz to form an “emergency” unity government amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Gantz will take over as the speaker of Israel’s parliament while Netanyahu will hold the prime ministership through 2021, reports say.
The agreement between the two political rivals marked a surprising twist in an already dramatic year for Israel, in which three elections were held and Netanyahu was indicted on corruption charges.
It means Netanyahu has secured a new term as prime minister, and Israel’s political deadlock is seemingly over. Meanwhile, Gantz will reportedly take over as the speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. The move led to the immediate collapse of Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party.
And after spending a year vowing to never join a government led by the indicted Netanyahu, Gantz, a former Israeli army chief, has sent shockwaves through the Israeli political world by going in the opposite direction.
From the Knesset podium Thursday, Gantz vowed to use his role to protect the country’s civil rights and democratic protections.
“Make no mistake, I will not compromise on principles for which over a million citizens voted,” he said.