Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu signs agreement with rival Benny Gantz

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu signs agreement with rival Benny Gantz to form coalition government, ending a year of political deadlock

  • Netanyahu will meet with his rival this evening after making further ‘progress’ in coalition talks
  • The protesters gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after following call launched by ‘Black Flag’ movement
  • It condems prime minister Netanyahu’s rule and calls on his rival Benny Gantz not to go into coalition with him
  • Israel’s deeply divided 120-member parliament has no clear path towards a stable governing coalition
  • Demonstrations are allowed under Israel’s coronavirus restrictions, as long as participants maintain distance 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

By Luke Andrews and Harry Howard For Mailonline

Published: 12:34 EDT, 20 April 2020 | Updated: 14:30 EDT, 20 April 2020

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Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signed an agreement with rival Benny Gantz, ending a year of political deadlock in the country.

The deal will see the two leaders share a rotating premiership. Netanyahu will continue to serve for the next year and a half before he is replaced by Gantz, who will be his deputy for the first rotation period. Gantz’s number two, Gabi Ashkenazi, will serve as foreign minister.

It marks a significant relinquishment of power by the incumbent prime minister, who is under criminal indictment in three corruption cases. He denies any wrongdoing.

Thousands of protesters lined the street’s of Tel Aviv on Sunday to call for Netanyahu’s removal from power and an end to coalition talks between his Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White party, which they said amounted to a threat to democracy. 

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz have signed an agreement that will end a year of political deadlock in the country

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz have signed an agreement that will end a year of political deadlock in the country

Under the agreement, Gantz will take over as prime minister after a year and a half

Under the agreement, Gantz will take over as prime minister after a year and a half

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz have signed an agreement that will end a year of political deadlock in the country

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Sunday to warn against what they said was a threat to democracy from ongoing coalition talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Sunday to warn against what they said was a threat to democracy from ongoing coalition talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz

Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Sunday to warn against what they said was a threat to democracy from ongoing coalition talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz 

Some 2,000 protesters, according to media estimates, gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after following a call launched on Facebook by the 'Black Flag' movement which condemns Netanyahu's continuing rule

Some 2,000 protesters, according to media estimates, gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after following a call launched on Facebook by the 'Black Flag' movement which condemns Netanyahu's continuing rule

Some 2,000 protesters, according to media estimates, gathered in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv after following a call launched on Facebook by the ‘Black Flag’ movement which condemns Netanyahu’s continuing rule 

Israel's parliament was tasked with forming a government on Thursday after speaker Gantz and Netanyahu missed a deadline to seal an alliance, but negotiations between the sides were ongoing

Israel's parliament was tasked with forming a government on Thursday after speaker Gantz and Netanyahu missed a deadline to seal an alliance, but negotiations between the sides were ongoing

Israel’s parliament was tasked with forming a government on Thursday after speaker Gantz and Netanyahu missed a deadline to seal an alliance, but negotiations between the sides were ongoing 

The two men said they were forming a ‘national emergency government’ in a statement. They will meet this evening and are expected to release statements to supporters, Israeli media reports.

The final agreement included the majority of Netanyahu’s demands, Israeli news station Channel 12 reported, including the annexation of parts of the West Bank and on the composition of the panel responsible for appointing judges.

It will also have to be signed by Likud’s right-wing religious partners before being voted on in the Knesset. It is not expected to be formally signed off until Israel’s independence day, April 28.  

Wearing face masks and keeping two yards apart, some 2,000 activists gathered in Rabin Square on Sunday following a call launched on Facebook by the ‘Black Flag’ movement which condemns Netanyahu’s continuing rule.

Israel’s parliament was tasked with forming a government on Thursday after speaker Gantz and Netanyahu missed a deadline to seal an alliance, but negotiations between the sides appeared to be deadlocked.  

Israel has reported more than 13,000 coronavirus cases and 172 deaths. 

A partial lockdown has confined most Israelis to their homes, forced businesses to close and sent unemployment to about 26 per cent. 

Gantz and Netanyahu could still agree on an emergency unity government to help Israel confront the COVID-19 pandemic, prospect the protesters spoke out against.  

Wearing face masks, waving black flags and keeping two yards apart, the protesters observed social distancing rules in force to fight the coronavirus.

Gantz (right) and Netanyahu could still agree on an emergency unity government to help Israel confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured: The pair in September with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

Gantz (right) and Netanyahu could still agree on an emergency unity government to help Israel confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured: The pair in September with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

Gantz (right) and Netanyahu could still agree on an emergency unity government to help Israel confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured: The pair in September with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

A partial lockdown has confined most Israelis to their homes, forced businesses to close and sent unemployment to about 26 per cent

A partial lockdown has confined most Israelis to their homes, forced businesses to close and sent unemployment to about 26 per cent

A partial lockdown has confined most Israelis to their homes, forced businesses to close and sent unemployment to about 26 per cent 

Wearing face masks, waving black flags and keeping two yards apart, the protesters observed social distancing rules in force to fight the coronavirus  Pictured: One protester holds a poster reading, 'crime minister'

Wearing face masks, waving black flags and keeping two yards apart, the protesters observed social distancing rules in force to fight the coronavirus  Pictured: One protester holds a poster reading, 'crime minister'

Wearing face masks, waving black flags and keeping two yards apart, the protesters observed social distancing rules in force to fight the coronavirus  Pictured: One protester holds a poster reading, ‘crime minister’

Israel has reported more than 13,000 coronavirus cases and 172 deaths and protesters ensured they kept a safe distance on Sunday

Israel has reported more than 13,000 coronavirus cases and 172 deaths and protesters ensured they kept a safe distance on Sunday

Israel has reported more than 13,000 coronavirus cases and 172 deaths and protesters ensured they kept a safe distance on Sunday

'Let democracy win', said one placard, while some protesters had written 'Minister of Crime' on their masks, an apparent reference to Netanyahu's upcoming trial for corruption

'Let democracy win', said one placard, while some protesters had written 'Minister of Crime' on their masks, an apparent reference to Netanyahu's upcoming trial for corruption

‘Let democracy win’, said one placard, while some protesters had written ‘Minister of Crime’ on their masks, an apparent reference to Netanyahu’s upcoming trial for corruption 

The protesters want Netanyahu to be removed from office. Pictured: Protesters keep their distance from each other

The protesters want Netanyahu to be removed from office. Pictured: Protesters keep their distance from each other

The protesters want Netanyahu to be removed from office. Pictured: Protesters keep their distance from each other

‘Let democracy win’, said one placard, while some protesters had written ‘Minister of Crime’ on their masks, an apparent reference to Netanyahu’s upcoming trial for corruption.

Many waved black flags as a symbol for threats against Israel’s democracy.

‘You don’t fight corruption from within,’ said Yair Lapid, the new opposition leader, of his former ally Gantz. ‘If you’re inside, you’re part of it.’

Democracies in 21st Century died because ‘good people are silent and weak people surrender’, Lapid said.  

'You don't fight corruption from within,' said Yair Lapid, the new opposition leader, of his former ally Gantz. 'If you're inside, you're part of it.' Pictured: Protesters wave Israel flags and turn their phone lights on as they safely stand apart

'You don't fight corruption from within,' said Yair Lapid, the new opposition leader, of his former ally Gantz. 'If you're inside, you're part of it.' Pictured: Protesters wave Israel flags and turn their phone lights on as they safely stand apart

‘You don’t fight corruption from within,’ said Yair Lapid, the new opposition leader, of his former ally Gantz. ‘If you’re inside, you’re part of it.’ Pictured: Protesters wave Israel flags and turn their phone lights on as they safely stand apart

The protesters gathered at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to air their grievances with Israeli prime minister Bejamin Netanyahu

The protesters gathered at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to air their grievances with Israeli prime minister Bejamin Netanyahu

The protesters gathered at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to air their grievances with Israeli prime minister Bejamin Netanyahu

Demonstrations are allowed under Israel's coronavirus restrictions, as long as participants maintain distance from each other and wear face masks

Demonstrations are allowed under Israel's coronavirus restrictions, as long as participants maintain distance from each other and wear face masks

Demonstrations are allowed under Israel’s coronavirus restrictions, as long as participants maintain distance from each other and wear face masks

Under the banner of 'Save the Democracy,' protesters called on Gantz's Blue and White party not to join in a coalition led by a premier charged with corruption

Under the banner of 'Save the Democracy,' protesters called on Gantz's Blue and White party not to join in a coalition led by a premier charged with corruption

Under the banner of ‘Save the Democracy,’ protesters called on Gantz’s Blue and White party not to join in a coalition led by a premier charged with corruption

Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing, is also under criminal indictment in three corruption cases. 

Demonstrations are allowed under Israel’s coronavirus restrictions, as long as participants maintain distance from each other and wear face masks.

Under the banner of ‘Save the Democracy,’ protesters called on Gantz’s Blue and White party not to join in a coalition led by a premier charged with corruption.

Gantz has campaigned for clean government, but said that the coronavirus crisis has forced him to go back on his election pledge. 

The protesters were careful not to break social distancing rules as they protested against Mr Netanyahu

The protesters were careful not to break social distancing rules as they protested against Mr Netanyahu

 The protesters were careful not to break social distancing rules as they protested against Mr Netanyahu 

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