The final agreement included most of Netanyahu’s demands, including on the composition of the panel that appoints judges
PM and Blue and White chief meet to sign deal, which will reportedly give the premier most of his demands; two men expected to give statements later in the evening
The cabinet will reportedly include 32 ministers at first and then swell to 36, with 14 deputy ministers, as soon as the coronavirus crisis is deemed to have ended, in what will be the largest cabinet by far in Israel’s history.
Gantz will become defense minister in the year and a half he waits in the wings to take over as premier from Netanyahu, while Blue and White No. 2 Gabi Ashkenazi would be foreign minister.
Among other key ministries, Blue and White’s Avi Nissenkorn was to receive the Justice Ministry, while Likud would get the finance and public security ministries, as well as the position of Knesset speaker.
The main bone of contention was the makeup and mechanics of the Judicial Appointments Committee, which appoints judges, with Netanyahu — who has been indicted on multiple counts of corruption, including bribery — demanding greater control over the process.
It was not immediately clear what agreement Likud and Blue and White reached on the matter.
“So the compromise on the Judicial Appointments Committee is that Bibi [Netanyahu] chose all its representatives. Gantz and [Blue and White MK Gabi] Ashkenazi agreed to allow the Netanyahu to appoint the judges that will adjudicate his affairs,”
Besides Likud’s demands concerning the Judicial Appointments Committee, another key issue was reportedly Netanyahu’s concern that the High Court may rule that he cannot serve as prime minister due to the criminal charges against him, a development that could leave Gantz as premier for the entire term of their coalition.
Netanyahu had therefore reportedly been trying to engineer some kind of legislative guarantee that Gantz would not take over as prime minister in the event of such a court ruling. According to reports Monday night, there will be no such legislation, but rather an agreement by which Gantz will not take over as premier in such a case, and instead trigger elections.