Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 - 11 of Shevat, 5781

Israel’s new unity government sworn in, ending political crisis

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“The people wanted unity, and that is what it got,” says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Israel’s new government was sworn in on Sunday, bringing an end to more than a year of political stalemate and preventing a fourth round of elections.

According to the terms of the coalition deal reached last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to serve as premier for 18 months. Blue and White head Benny Gantz will serve as vice premier during that time, after which he will take over as prime minister for the next 18 months, while Netanyahu becomes vice premier.

“The people wanted unity, and that is what it got,” Netanyahu told the Knesset, according to Reuters. Netanyahu has been prime minister since 2009 and is facing a corruption trial, slated to begin next week.

The new government—the largest in Israeli history, with 36 ministers—is planning to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria starting in July, under the aegis of the U.S. “Peace to Prosperity” plan, aka the “deal of the century.”

“This is an important day for the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said on Sunday, according to Ynet. “The new government was established according to the will of most citizens and will serve all citizens.”

“If we had gone into a fourth election, the additional cost would have amounted to NIS 2 billion. The additional cost of a unity government [was roughly]NIS 85 million a year, infinitely lower than the cost of additional elections,” he said, according to the report. “That would have been a real waste. It would have forced us to defer the fallout of the coronavirus to an undetermined date.”

Gantz’s erstwhile Blue and White colleague Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid criticized the new government, calling it a “corrupt celebration.”

“The coronavirus crisis is an excuse to hold a corrupt celebration at the taxpayers’ expense. You are establishing the biggest and most wasteful government in Israeli history,” said Lapid, according to Reuters.

Government Ministers

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benjamin Gantz
 Minister for Cyber and National Digital Matters David Amsalem
Minister for Social Equality and Minorities Meirav Cohen
Minister for the Strengthening of Communities Orly Levi-Abekasis
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Alon Schuster
Minister of Communications Yoaz Hendel
Minister of Construction and Housing Yakov Litzman
Minister of Culture and Sport Yehiel Tropper
Minister in the Ministry of Defense Michael Biton
Minister of Diaspora Affairs Omer Yankelevitch
Minister of Education Yoav Gallant
Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz
Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel
Minister of Finance Israel Katz
Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi 
Minister of Health Yuli-Yoel Edelstein
Minister of Higher Education and Water Resources Zeev Elkin
Minister of Immigration and Absorption Penina Tamanu
Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen
Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Rafael Peretz
Minister of Justice Avi Nissenkorn
Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Itzik Shmuli
Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana
Minister of Regional Cooperation Gilad Erdan
Minister of Religious Affairs Yaakov Avitan
Minister of Science and Technology Izhar Shay
Minister of Settlement Tzipi Hotovely
Minister of Strategic Affairs Orit Farkash-Hacohen
Minister of the Economy Amir Peretz
Minister of the Interior Aryeh Machluf Deri
Minister of Tourism Asaf Zamir
Minister of Transportation Miri Regev
Minister Without Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi



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