Israel finally has a new government after more than a year of deadlock, but the new power-sharing administration between the right and centrist wings has not put the political controversy to rest. The Israeli parliament gave its approval to the new unity government Sunday, 73-46.
Benjamin Netanyahu will remain prime minister for 18 months. The head of the centrist Blue and White party, Benny Gantz, will be “alternate prime minister,” then they will swap jobs. “The public wants a unity government, and this is what the public is getting today,” Netanyahu said Sunday. “We chose to serve the country together.”
Speaking after Netanyahu, Gantz said he chose a unity government over civil war, adding that “the worst political crisis Israel has known is over.” Netanyahu promised a budget that he says “will prevent the economy from collapsing, that will guarantee stability, that will restore growth -- a budget that will give you, citizens of Israel, hope, and a horizon, by restoring three things: Jobs, jobs, jobs.”
He also says Israel will not back away from plans to annex part of the West Bank.
“The time has come to apply sovereignty to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” he said. “This won’t distance peace. It will bring it closer. These (Jewish) settlements will be part of Israel in any scenario. These areas of the country were the places of the birth and the growth of the Jewish nation. And it is time to apply Israeli law and to write a glorious new chapter in the history of Zionism.”
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