President Reuven Rivlin on Monday assigned the task of forming Israel’s 35th government to Blue&White chairman, MK Benny Gantz. Earlier on Monday, the president signed the letter of appointment, nominating MK Gantz, according to the provisions of Basic Law: The Government (2001), and spoke with the Blue&White negotiating team at Gantz’s request.
Upon assigning him the formation of the next government, the president said, “At the end of the consultations I held with the political parties, 61 Members of Knesset expressed their support for former chief of staff and Knesset member Benny Gantz to be assigned the task of forming the government. Accordingly, under Article 7 of Basic Law: The Government (2001), I hereby place in your hands the possibility of forming a government.”
“The law gives you, sir, 28 days beginning tomorrow, to form a government,” said the president, noting, “This is a short amount of time, but given the current circumstances of national and international crisis, even this is too long. The enormity of this moment and the dimensions of the challenges we face require forming a government in Israel. A government for the people of Israel. Nothing about today’s ceremony reduces in any way the responsibility borne by all parties to create the conditions in which as broad a government as possible can be established in this hour of crisis.”
At the end of his remarks, the president added, “As I have already said, it is possible that forming a government quickly will require interim arrangements for the coming months, but I have no doubt that this is what the nation expects of its leaders at this time. A fourth round of elections is not possible and the keys to establishing a new Israeli government are now in your hands, sir, as well as in the hands of all the elected officials from all the parties. On behalf of this dear nation which resides in Zion, and for the good of all the citizens of Israel, I wish you luck.”
In reality, despite the president’s statement, Gantz has only secured his own party’s 32 seats and 6 out of the Labor-Gesher-Meretz 7 seats, for a grand total of 38 real seats. The remainder includes the anti-Zionist Joint Arab List’s 15 seats and Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu’s 7 seats, neither one of which is expected to be a comfortable fit in or around the Blue&White coalition. That’s because Liberman won’t sit in a government supported by the Arabs and the Arabs refuse to support a government with Liberman in it.
So, with that in mind, we, too, wish Benny Gantz all the luck in the world.