Israel’s Netanyahu presents his unity government to parliament

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his new unity government to parliament on Sunday, ending more than a year of political stalemate as he prepares to be tried in a week for alleged corruption.

His power-sharing agreement with former election rival Blue and White centrist leader Benny Gantz paves the way for Netanyahu to the right to effect a promised de facto annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, the land the Palestinians are looking for for a state.

Under his agreement with Gantz, after three inconclusive elections, Netanyahu will remain prime minister for 18 months before giving way to his new partner. Gantz, a former head of the military, will be Netanyahu’s defense minister.

“The people wanted unity, and that is what they got,” Netanyahu told parliament, citing the desire to avoid a fourth election after three inconclusive polls since April 2019 and a national battle against the crisis. coronaviruses.

Israel’s longest-serving head, Netanyahu, now 70, came to power in 1996 and has served three consecutive terms since 2009. He is on trial on May 24 for corruption, breach of trust and fraud. that he denies.

With a record number of 36 ministers, the cabinet will be the largest in Israeli history, reflecting weeks of deals that have boosted Netanyahu’s reputation as a political survivor.