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Israel’s Emergency “National Unity” Compromise

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A banner depicts Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, and Israel Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of Blue and White party's campaign ahead of the election, in Tel Aviv, Israel February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

The coronavirus forced a resolution of Israel’s polarizing, paralyzing political stalemate. Benny Gantz, the former army chief-of-staff who fought Prime Minister Netanyahu to a virtual tie in three national elections in the course of a year, finally accepted his rival’s invitation to join “an emergency national unity government” to fight the pandemic.

To do so, he had to split with the left-leaning elements of his Blue-and-White Party, giving Israel a broad coalition of the right and the center. This isn’t a betrayal—it’s a demonstration of putting patriotism above party. Netanyahu also agreed to concessions—after 18 more months in the top job, Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister will step down and enable his new partner to become Prime Minister for the next eighteen months.  The clearest winner in all this is the nation of Israel, which sends a message to her American friends about the importance of coalition and compromise, especially in times of peril.

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