Amid pomp, Isaac Herzog sworn in as Israel's 11th president
Isaac Herzog, scion of a prominent Zionist family, took the oath of office on Wednesday and became Israel's new president. With one hand on a Bible before the Knesset — Israel's parliament — Herzog, 60, assumed the largely ceremonial position that is designed to forge national unity and serve as the country's moral compass. Herzog, whose father, Chaim, served as Israel's president in the 1980s, succeeded Reuven Rivlin as Israel's 11th president and is to hold office for a single seven-year term.news.yahoo.com
Israel welcomes German leader as ally against antisemitism
Israel's president warmly welcomed his German counterpart on Thursday, praising him as an ally in combatting antisemitism. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is set to meet with Israel's new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said that Germany has been “our strong partner in the uncompromising fight against antisemitism” and has stood with Israel against “the forces of terror who seek to wipe us off the map.”news.yahoo.com
Biden tells Israel president he won't tolerate nuclear Iran
President Joe Biden sought to assure Israel that he would not tolerate a nuclear Iran as he met with outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday amid a major shakeup in Israeli politics and growing angst in Tel Aviv over the U.S. administration's effort to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. Biden noted that he had ordered airstrikes a day earlier targeting facilities the U.S. military says were used by Iran-backed militia groups near the border between Iraq and Syria. The rhetoric seemed to underscore that he would remain tough on malign Iran activity even as he seeks a diplomatic track to stem Tehran's nuclear program.news.yahoo.com
US troops in Syria attacked after airstrikes on militias
U.S. forces in Syria came under rocket attack Monday, with no reported casualties, one day after U.S. warplanes conducted airstrikes against what the Pentagon called “facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups” near the border between Iraq and Syria.
Israeli ambassador to United States resigns
Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. resigned on Sunday, hours after welcoming Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to D.C., where he will meet on Monday with President Biden at the White House.Why it matters: Gilad Erdan's decision comes as the Biden administration and new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett feel each other out, particularly on the most contentious issues like Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Sunews.yahoo.com
Netanyahu's opponents face unity government deadline
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opponents on Wednesday were racing to finalize a coalition government to end his 12-year rule — the longest by any Israeli premier — ahead of a midnight deadline. Centrist Yair Lapid and ultranationalist Naftali Bennett have joined forces and agreed to rotate the premiership between them, with Bennett going first, but are still working to cobble together a ruling coalition that would include parties from across the political spectrum. Israeli media reported that there are some lingering disagreements over lower-level political appointments but that Lapid was likely to announce an agreement sometime Wednesday.news.yahoo.com
Israeli coalition talks resume after PM misses deadline
Israel's president on Wednesday signaled he would move quickly to task a new candidate with forming a government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to do so ahead of a midnight deadline. President Reuven Rivlin will meet with the two main candidates for forming a government — opposition leader Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, a former Netanyahu ally — on Wednesday morning. Netanyahu's political future was thrown into question when he failed to assemble a ruling coalition in the four weeks allotted to him, raising the possibility that his 12-year run as prime minister — the longest in Israeli history — could soon come to an end.news.yahoo.com
Netanyahu fails to form government, leaving his future in doubt
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government before his mandate expired on Tuesday night, putting him in the most vulnerable position he has faced politically since becoming prime minister in 2009. Why it matters: This is the third time in the last two years that Netanyahu has had the first crack at forming a government but failed to do so. But this time, his rivals may be able to form a government without him.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeWhat's next: President Reuven Rivlin has three days to hold consultations with the various parties before deciding who will receive the mandate next.Rivlin’s aides tell me he's most likely to give the mandate to the centrist opposition leader, Yair Lapid, who has at least 45 members behind him in the 120-seat Knesset.Behind the scenes: For almost two weeks, it has been clear that Netanyahu didn't have a path to a majority. He has focused instead on trying to drive a wedge between Lapid and Naftali Bennett, the leader of a right-wing party. The two have been negotiating toward an alternative government.Netanyahu considered unprecedented steps to try to sabotage the transfer of the mandate to Lapid, Tal Shalev reported for Walla News, including falsely notifying Rivlin that he formed a government. After his plans were exposed, he backed off.Netanyahu has also considered ordering his right-wing bloc to recommend to Rivlin that he give the mandate to Bennett, rather than Lapid. Netanyahu could then pressure Bennett to negotiate only with his fellow conservatives. But that plan too fell apart after Bennett refused to rule out negotiations with Lapid.The state of play: The outlines of a potential Lapid-Bennett power-sharing deal are already clear. Despite Bennett's party only winning seven seats in the Knesset, Lapid would allow him to serve as prime minister for two years before he would rotate into the job for another two years.The center-left, which won more seats, would control most government ministries, however. All government decisions would have to be decided by consensus, and each bloc would have veto power.The government would steer clear of controversial ideological issues and focus on the post-COVID recovery, the economy and restoring some unity to the country after four consecutive election campaigns. Yes, but: It's no sure thing that Lapid and Bennett will be able to iron out all the remaining issues and replace Israel's longest-serving prime minister.What to watch: For Netanyahu, this is a desperate moment. In addition to watching the mandate pass to his rivals, he's also facing an ongoing corruption trial that could eventually land him in prison. Still, the lesson of recent Israeli politics is to never count him out.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.news.yahoo.com
What next for Israel's chaotic politics after Benjamin Netanyahu fails to form government?
Israel’s longest serving prime minister woke up to a throbbing political headache on Wednesday morning after his deadline to form a coalition government expired on Tuesday night. Benjamin Netanyahu, who is fighting for his political survival amid a series of poor election results and a corruption trial, is now looking more vulnerable than ever. The Right-wing Likud party leader had been asked to form a coalition by Israel’s president after the country’s fourth election in two years in March, which failed to produce a clear winner. But after several fruitless weeks of coalition talks and backroom meetings, his deadline for forming a government expired at midnight on Tuesday, plunging his political career into deeper turmoil. It is not the last straw for the embattled leader, who may yet be able to cling on to power if he finds more supporters in the coming days and convinces Reuven Rivlin, the Israeli president, to grant him an extension. But his failure to find a 61-seat majority is delightful news for the so-called anti-Netanyahu bloc of left-wingers and centrists, who now hope to form their own alternative government. Here we look at what is most likely to happen now that Mr Netanyahu’s deadline has expired, and whether there is any hope of ending the worst political deadlock in Israeli history any time soon. Option 1: Netanyahu’s enemies try to form government The next few weeks could get very busy for the anti-Netanyahu coalition led by Yair Lapid, the head of the centrist Yesh Atid party. Israeli media reports say Mr Rivlin is poised to give Mr Lapid the next chance at forming a government within 28 days as his party came second, after Likud, in the March 23 polls. This will not be easy, as the Lapid-led bloc does not currently have a 61-seat majority and would need to unite voices across the political spectrum against Likud, something it failed to do after the previous three elections.news.yahoo.com
Israel appears mired in deadlock as votes are tallied
“A stable government for the state of Israel, that is what the times require. For supporters, Netanyahu is the man who is uniquely qualified to lead the country through its numerous political, diplomatic and security challenges. "We want to avoid a fifth election, but not at any cost.”Whether Abbas can make history and lead an Arab party into an Israeli coalition remains uncertain. AdThe Israeli election commission was set to begin counting an estimated 450,000 absentee ballots, a higher-than-usual number due to the many people with the coronavirus or in quarantine. And a fifth election, despite the deep opposition voiced across the political spectrum, remains a strong possibility.
Leaders like UK’s Johnson who wooed Trump face tricky reset
But after a mob of Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Johnson has changed his tune. But after a mob of Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Johnson has changed his tune. Critics say Johnson took his courting of Trump too far, and got little in return. Like Trump, Johnson has engaged in populist stunts, exaggerated promises and, at times, racist and inflammatory language. Like Trump, Netanyahu frequently rails against the media and belittles opponents with language seen as racist or incendiary.
Israel begins virus inoculation drive as infections surge
TEL AVIV – Israel on Sunday began its coronavirus inoculation drive, aiming to vaccinate some 60,000 people a day in a bid to stamp out the illness that is once again surging among its population. He called it an “exciting moment” that would put Israel on the path to returning to its normal routines. Israel has an agreement with Pfizer to secure 8 million doses of the U.S. pharmaceutical company’s vaccine — enough to cover nearly half of Israel’s population since each person requires two doses. Israel reached a separate agreement with Moderna earlier this month to purchase 6 million doses of its vaccine — enough for another 3 million Israelis. Israel has reported more than 368,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The Latest: Trump ally Netanyahu calls Biden president-elect
President-elect Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaks about economic recovery at The Queen theater, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):1:20 p.m.Israel’s president and prime minister spoke with Joe Biden on Tuesday for the first time since his victory in the U.S. election, joining other world leaders in referring to him as the president-elect despite President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump, congratulated Biden after the election was called earlier this month but did not refer to him as president-elect then and has avoided commenting on the election results. “In a warm conversation, the president-elect reiterated his deep commitment to the state of Israel and its security,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. Netanyahu ”said that the special bond between Israel and the US is a fundamental component of Israel’s security and its policy.
Israeli fighter pilot to be part of SpaceX's private flight for Axiom next year
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — Former Israeli fighter pilot Eytan Stibbe is the second member of the all-private crew that SpaceX is scheduled to launch late next year for Axiom Space, the company confirmed to CNBC on Monday. President of Israel Reuven Rivlin made the announcement shortly after SpaceX launched its Crew-1 mission for NASA on Sunday evening. Stibbe is set to become Israel's second astronaut. The nation's first astronaut was Ilan Ramon, a payload specialist on board Space Shuttle Columbia. The first Axiom mission will last 10 days – with two days of travel and eight days on board the space station.cnbc.com
Israel extends restrictions on protests amid virus lockdown
The Israeli government has extended an emergency provision that bars public gatherings, including widespread protests against Netanyahu, for an additional week. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)JERUSALEM – The Israeli government has extended an emergency provision that bars public gatherings, including widespread protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for an additional week. Israel imposed a nationwide lockdown ahead of the Jewish High Holidays last month to rein in the country's surging coronavirus outbreak. The government then declared the state of emergency, limiting all public gatherings to within a kilometer (half a mile) of a person's home. Israel was initially praised for its swift imposition of restrictions in February to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Israelis mark Yom Kippur under 'painful' virus lockdown
(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)JERUSALEM – The solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which annually sees Israeli life grind to a halt, begins on Sunday in a nation already under a sweeping coronavirus lockdown. Because of that, lives were lost.”As part of the latest lockdown, Israelis can only pray in open areas close to home, with gatherings limited to 20 people. But he urged people to avoid going into synagogues on Yom Kippur and to pray outdoors. But he says the closure of synagogues during Yom Kippur is still "very painful for most Israelis,” even those who don't attend regularly. "It’s quite dramatic for Israelis, for all types of Israelis, secular and observant.”In Israel, the holiday is also associated with the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Yom Kippur.
A techie pushes back against Benjamin Netanyahus anti-Arab rhetoric
By 2018, he was routinely tweeting at Israeli television news channels to protest their omission of Israeli Arab cities from the weather forecasts. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced elections and launched a campaign using anti-Arab rhetoric to rile up his base. He has repeatedly accused an opponent of conspiring with terror supporters a reference to Arab Israeli politicians. In 1999, an Arab turnout of 75% helped end Netanyahus first stint as prime minister. In September, Arab turnout rose to 60%, an increase widely attributed to the unified response of Israeli Arab leaders to the prime ministers anti-Arab smears.latimes.com
Israel's Netanyahu will seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution in corruption cases
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks after being tasked by President Reuven Rivlin (not in frame) with forming a new government, during a press conference in Jerusalem on September 25, 2019. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he would ask parliament to protect him from prosecution in the three graft cases he faces, a politically-risky move that could delay criminal proceedings against him for months. A trial cannot get underway once an immunity request is made, and Netanyahu announced the move in a speech on live television just four hours before a deadline for an application was to expire. Netanyahu said in his address that the charges against him were politically motivated and he was entitled to parliament's protection. If immunity is ultimately granted entitling Netanyahu to avoid standing trial as long as he is a member of parliament Israel's Supreme Court is empowered to review the decision and strike it down.cnbc.com
Israel faces third election in less than a year after attempt to form government fails again
There will be a three-week period during which any lawmaker Gantz and Netanyahu included can try to build a governing coalition. As the final hours ticked down to Wednesdays deadline, Rivlin pressured Gantz and Netanyahu to form a national unity government to break the deadlock and avoid yet another election. Rivlin suggested that Gantz and Netanyahu could alternate serving as prime minister, with Netanyahu promising to step aside if indicted. But Gantz ran on a clean-government platform and pledged never to serve with an indicted prime minister. Likud loyalists have shown little inclination to push out Netanyahu as their party leader.latimes.com
Netanyahu fails again to form new Israeli government
(CNN) - For the second time this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form a government, opening the door for his main rival Benny Gantz to do so. In a statement, Gantz signaled he was ready to pick up the mandate and attempt to get a breakthrough. Failing to form a government after six weeks of negotiations, Netanyahu called a second general election, instead of giving Gantz the opportunity to try. It was the first time in Israel's history that a political leader was unable to form a government after an election. Netanyahu was given the first chance to form a government because he had united a bloc of 55 conservative, religious Zionist, and ultra-Orthodox seats behind him.
Time for action in Israel, after Netanyahu fails to form a government
It took Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a little over a month to acknowledge that even after two brutal national election campaigns, he remained unable to form Israels next government. On Tuesday, for the first time in 11 years, a man other than Netanyahu will be tasked with leading Israel. He also objected to Netanyahus insistence that, if the two agreed to rotate the position of prime minister, Netanyahu would go first. Under Israeli law, a prime minister is the only elected official who can remain in office while under indictment. Monday was Netanyahus 70th birthday and was supposed to be a momentous day in the life of Israels longest-serving prime minister.latimes.com
Israel's political deadlock leaves Trump's Middle East peace plan in limbo
An inconclusive ballot in mid-September has thrust Israel back into another period of political deadlock, with no obvious path forward for the implementation of a U.S.-led peace plan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to secure a clear election victory last month. With neither party able to secure a clear lead, the result has pushed back a long-awaited U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. "The impact on the Trump peace plan is unclear," Jake Walles, who served as U.S. consul general in Jerusalem from 2005 to 2009 and is now a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told CNBC via telephone. "At that point, it will be close to the end of the year; will Trump still want to proceed?cnbc.com
Netanyahu trails Gantz by two seats in latest Israeli election results
Gantz's Blue and White Party have 33 seats to Likud's 31 in the latest standings from Tuesday's do-over election, according to Israel's Central Elections Committee. With 120 seats in the Parliament, both Gantz and Netanyahu need to build a coalition to succeed, giving small parties a vital say in the shape of the next government. If those talks also end in failure, the prospect of yet another general election -- which the Times of Israel has labeled a "nightmare third election scenario" -- could become a reality. Warning of that possibility on Thursday, Rivlin said he "will do everything I can to prevent another general election." Netanyahu could also face the possibility of fighting a third general election after being indicted on those charges -- providing added urgency to this attempt to forge a path to power.
Israels president urges Netanyahu and his rival to join forces
Hoping to stave off a third election, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said Monday that he was encouraging the two leading political parties to join forces and form a national unity government. A total of 61 seats are required to form a government and become prime minister. AdvertisementHe summoned Gantz and Netanyahu to his residence on Monday evening with the aim of persuading them to join forces. A total of 11 members of parliament have abstained from endorsing any candidate for prime minister. Netanyahu was given a chance to form a government but failed to establish a ruling coalition.latimes.com
Mired in post-election deadlock, Israelis face the possibility of yet a third vote
The words third election started to circulate among Israeli pundits even as Tuesdays first exit polls were released. Israels political volatility is such that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert believes a third election is inevitable. In an interview with The Times, the eventuality did not fill him with dread, as it does many other Israelis. AdvertisementThe difficulty in running a country is not an Israeli phenomenon, he said as the final voting figures became clear. Ehud Barak, another former prime minister, published an upbeat opinion column on Friday outlining his vision for Israels next government.latimes.com
Re-run Israeli election in dead heat
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's grip on power was hanging in the balance Wednesday after local TV channels projected him trailing his centrist rival Benny Gantz by just one seat, following a re-run general election. Both Netanyahu and Gantz have vowed they can form a government, even though projected results give neither man a majority in the new Parliament. Israeli politics now appears all-but-deadlocked and destined for complex negotiations between the two main parties and the smaller parties over possible coalition arrangements. Gantz said contacts with other parties to build what he described as a "broad unity government" had already started. Netanyahu meanwhile, was hoarse as he addressed his Likud Party supporters, neither claiming victory nor conceding defeat.