Israel’s unity government set to be sworn in after over a year of deadlock

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An Israeli unity government agreed between former army chief Benny Gantz and veteran right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to be sworn in on Thursday evening, ending more than a year of political deadlock.

The new government, which, according to the coalition agreement, will see Gantz replace Netanyahu as prime minister after 18 months, is scheduled to be sworn in Thursday evening after lawmakers vote to approve it during a Knesset plenum session that will begin in the evening.

Netanyahu and Gantz will carry the title “alternate prime minister” when not serving as premier.

Former Israeli army chief Gabi Ashkenazi, who spent nearly four decades in the military, will be nominated as Israel’s next foreign minister, his Blue and White alliance said Wednesday.

Ashkenazi held talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem ahead of his “appointment as minister of foreign affairs this coming Thursday,” said Blue and White, which is led by the incoming alternate prime minister, Gantz.

Foreign affairs was a key profile secured by Blue and White in coalition talks with Netanyahu’s Likud party, along with the defence ministry which will be led by Gantz.

Ashkenazi joined Israel’s army in 1972 and fought in the Yom Kippur war a year later.

He also took part in Operation Entebbe, an Israeli commando raid to rescue hostages from a plane that had hijacked by Palestinian and German militants and diverted to Uganda’s main airport.

Netanyahu’s brother Yonatan was killed in the operation.

Ashkenazi went on to take part in or lead a series of high-profile and sometimes controversial operations.

Read more via The Times of Israel



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