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Gantz has played into Netanyahu's hands

Thanks to the coronavirus crisis and high poll numbers, Benjamin Netanyahu is even better off than he'd hoped, but he still needs Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to get him back into the Prime Ministry.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Likud party rally in Ramat Gan, ahead of the upcoming election.
Israelis head to the polls for the third election in less than a year on March 2nd. 
On Saturday, February 29, 2020, in Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The coalition agreement between the Likud and Blue and White was ready to be signed last week. All that remained was to put together a historic power-sharing government led by two prime ministers with equal rights and authority. However, after forcing Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to dismantle his party, one half of which balked at joining such a government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did an about-face with two additional demands. One was for veto power over the Judicial Appointments Committee in order to control the makeup of the Supreme Court. The other was for a mechanism to prevent the top court from ruling against him serving as prime minister under criminal indictment.

Gantz cannot give in to these demands. The defense of Israel’s legal and law enforcement systems against persistent efforts by Netanyahu and his allies to weaken them is his sole political achievement vis-à-vis Netanyahu. They are also his sole moral and historic justification for forging a deal with a politician charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Granting Netanyahu veto power over the appointment of judges means giving him control over the identity of the justices who might rule on his appeal if a lower court convicts him.

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