Israeli president tasks Benny Gantz with forming government

Israel’s former military chief Benny Gantz has received an official mandate to form the country’s next government but has few options after last month’s elections left him in a near tie with Netanyahu. (File/AFP)
Updated 25 October 2019

Israeli president tasks Benny Gantz with forming government

  • Gantz is the first politician other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to receive such a mandate since 2009
  • Following deadlocked elections on September 17, Netanyahu had tried to form a coalition, but finally gave up on Monday — his second such failure this year

JERUSALEM: Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin tasked ex-military chief Benny Gantz on Wednesday with forming a new governing coalition and bringing Israel out of the longest political impasse in its history.
Gantz is the first politician other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to receive such a mandate since 2009.
Following deadlocked elections on September 17, Netanyahu had tried to form a coalition, but finally gave up on Monday — his second such failure this year.
At a press conference in Jerusalem, Rivlin called on political parties to make “concessions,” while Gantz promised to “try to form a liberal union government.”
He is expected to face difficulties in forming a majority coalition, despite expressing confidence he can reach a deal for a unity government.
He will have 28 days to try and if he too fails, Rivlin can ask parliament to agree on another candidate for prime minister.
If that also fails to produce a new government, Israel could face yet another election — its third in the space of a year.
“We must behave responsibly toward Israeli citizens and avoid new elections,” Gantz said Wednesday, adding that there would be room for “all elements of Israeli society” in his coalition.
Gantz presents himself as a leader who can heal Israel’s divisions, which he says Netanyahu has exacerbated.
A 60-year-old former paratrooper, Gantz had no previous political experience when he declared himself Netanyahu’s electoral rival in December.
He was born on June 9, 1959, in Kfar Ahim, a southern Israeli village that his immigrant parents, both Holocaust survivors, helped to establish.
He joined the army in 1977, completing the tough selection course for paratroopers.
According to his official army biography, he was Israel’s military attache to the United States from 2005 until 2009.
He was chief of staff from 2011 to 2015, when he retired, and has boasted in video clips of the number of Palestinian militants killed and targets destroyed under his command in the 2014 war with Gaza’s Islamist Hamas rulers.
A security hawk, he is determined — like Netanyahu — to keep the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank under Israeli control and to maintain Israeli sovereignty over annexed Arab east Jerusalem.
The two are also in step on external threats, such as from archfoe Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
Gantz has pledged to improve public services and show “zero tolerance” for corruption — a reference to graft allegations facing Netanyahu.
Negotiators from Gantz’s Blue and White party and Netanyahu’s Likud party will meet Thursday, according to Likud.
Both the Likud and Blue and White say they want a big-tent coalition, but they are divided on how to achieve it.
The Likud has been seeking to negotiate based on a compromise set out by Rivlin that takes into account the possibility the premier will be indicted on corruption charges in the coming weeks.
It could see Netanyahu remain prime minister for now, but step aside at some point later as he fights the charges.
Gantz would take over as acting premier under such a scenario.
Blue and White says Gantz should be prime minister first under any rotation arrangement, since his party won the most seats, finishing with 33 compared to the Likud’s 32 in the 120-seat parliament.
Rivlin promised Wednesday night that he would do everything possible to avoid a third election.


More online stores added to shopping list in UAE amid coronavirus pandemic

Updated 1 min 13 sec ago

More online stores added to shopping list in UAE amid coronavirus pandemic

  • The applications include grocery stores, meat and vegetable shops, and other services, the TRA said
  • The online stores have witnessed higher demand in the past weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic that led to a worldwide call for people to stay at home

DUBAI: More applications have been added to the list of online stores published by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), bringing the total to 51 apps, state news agency WAM reported on Tuesday.
The applications include grocery stores, meat and vegetable shops, and other services, the TRA said.
The online stores have witnessed higher demand in the past weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic that led to a worldwide call for people to stay at home.
A recent survey by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development found that 66 percent of people who took part said they were confident in shopping online and 70 percent said they trusted online purchases.
The new applications added to the list include:
Sanadeeg: An application that offers an online shopping experience where customers can access a range of products and have their orders delivered to their doorsteps.
BulkWhiz: An e-commerce grocery store powered by next generation artificial intelligence technology for bulk purchases.
EatEasy: The online platform connects customers to a wide range of restaurants where they can make their orders through the application.
Narinport: An app that sells fresh groceries and delivers orders to customers’ doorsteps. The products range from fresh fruits to pastas and Bee products.
Rashen: An online grocery store that sells a wide range of products and offers a delivery service.
FalconCity MarketsL Allows customers to order daily grocery items with free home delivery.
Casinetto: An application that sells over 1,000 Italian products with free delivery service.