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

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

Former Israeli military chief GabiAshkenazi, who has spent nearly four decades in the military, will be named as the next Israeli foreign minister, his blue and white alliance announced on Wednesday.

Ashkenazi held talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem ahead of his “appointment to the post of foreign minister next Thursday,” said Blue and White, chaired by new deputy prime minister Gantz.

Foreign affairs have been a key profile obtained by Blue and White in coalition talks with Netanyahu’s Likud party, with the Defense Ministry to be led by Gantz.

Ashkenaz joined the Israeli army in 1972 and participated in the Yom Kippur war a year later.

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

Netanyahu’s brother Yonatan was killed during the operation.

Ashkenazi decided to participate in or direct a series of large-scale and sometimes controversial operations.

Turkey has tried Ashkenazim and three other Israeli military leaders, tried in absentia in 2012 for the deadly 2010 assault on a Turkish ship bound for Gaza.

He was head of the military during the Israeli war with Hamas in Gaza in 2008-2009.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)