Israel’s Likud is using coronavirus to orchestrate a coup

A man wears a face mask to protect against coronavirus inside the almost-deserted al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on 20 March (AFP)
A man wears a face mask to protect against coronavirus inside the almost-deserted al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on 20 March.  (photo: AFP)
The prospect of a Netanyahu-led unity government looms. How did we get here?

By Richard Silverstein | Middle East Eye | Mar 23, 2020

Best-selling author and historian Yuval Noah Harari has called these maneuvers ‘the first coronavirus dictatorship’.

Israel’s governing Likud party did not win the latest election, but it continues to cling to power, exploiting every dirty trick in the book. Now, it looks like it may well stay there.

The centre-right bloc dominated by the Blue and White alliance had edged past the 60-seat threshold to form a government, and on 15 March President Reuven Rivlin tasked party leader Benny Gantz with doing so.

Flash forward to 20 March and Gantz is saying, for the first time, that he would be willing to sit in a national unity government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Drastic measures
This represented quite a change of affairs. Netanyahu’s corruption trial had been scheduled to start last week, but his justice minister decreed that all courts would close, ostensibly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This in effect postponed his trial until at least May.

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