Published: Thu, March 26, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Former Army Chief Elected As Speaker Of Israel Parliament

Former Army Chief Elected As Speaker Of Israel Parliament

Israeli media reported Thursday that Blue and White's co-leaders Yair Lapid and Moshe Ya'alon filed a request to split from the rest of the party in the Knesset moments before the vote on Gantz's nomination.

Israel's Benny Gantz called for an emergency unity government after being elected parliament speaker Thursday, surprise developments that point towards an alliance with his rival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to tackle coronavirus.

Former Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, who resigned his post on Wednesday, adjourned the Knesset plenary session - in defiance of the explicit directive from the High Court of Justice to begin a debate on choosing his replacement.

Blue and White wants one of their own as Knesset Speaker as the position decides parliament's schedule and will make it possible to push through legislation barring Netanyahu from serving as prime minister.

In the meantime, Gantz and his supporters from other parties have noted that they have enough votes to determine the next speaker of the Israeli Knesset, and are calling for a vote.

The constitutional crisis is closely linked to the political turmoil that has paralyzed Israel for more than a year as Netanyahu struggles to hold on to power amid his legal woes. In November, Netanyahu was indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Self-quarantine mandatory following out-of-country travel
The measure was one step beyond a previous government recommendation to self-isolate, and comes amid reports that some were ignoring the guidance.


Last week, shortly after the new Knesset was sworn in, Edelstein declared it closed, first saying he'd done so for virus-related social distancing, and then saying he was trying to force Netanyahu's and Gantz's parties to form a unity government.

"The Supreme Court's decision contradicts the Knesset protocol", said Edelstein.

Blue and White had meant to nominate another lawmaker, who is part of a different faction of the party, and to use the position to push for legislation that would prevent an indicted lawmaker from becoming prime minister.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit argued at noon time that Edelstein's resignation "does not absolve him from carrying out the court's ruling", which he must do in full.

Calling for a unity government, he added, "Knesset members, citizens of Israel, right now our nation needs unity, needs a unity government".

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