Coalition talks, protests canceled due to Mt. Meron tragedy – The Jerusalem Post

The marathon of coalition negotiations that had been expected to take place over the weekend did not happen, due to Thursday night’s tragedy at Mount Meron.
There had been no substantial contact between the parties aiming to form a government since Thursday night, nor are there expected to be on Sunday – due to the national day of mourning declared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – and on Monday, due to the special mourning session at the Knesset declared by Knesset speaker Yariv Levin.
Netanyahu’s mandate from President Reuven Rivlin to form a government ends on Tuesday night at 11:59 p.m.
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett had hoped to reach an agreement with Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid by then, in order to receive the second mandate from Rivlin.
The inability to negotiate made it increasingly likely that the mandate will go to Lapid, who has the most recommendations to form a government.
Technically, Netanyahu could ask Rivlin for a two-week extension, but Rivlin’s associates said such a request would only be considered if Netanyahu had made significant progress toward forming a government.
 Asked if it was possible that he would use the Meron disaster as an excuse to obtain an extension, a source close to the prime minister said “that is not currently on the agenda.”

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz clarified over the weekend that he was committed to the bloc aiming to replace Netanyahu, and he would not accept an offer from Netanyahu to go first in a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Ra’am (United Arab List) head Mansour Abbas told Channel 12’s Meet the Press program on Saturday that he would only decide at the last minute which government he will support forming. He said he expected the same of Bennett.
In good news for Bennett, a demonstration against him joining a government with left-wing parties that had been set for Sunday in Jerusalem’s Paris Square was canceled due to the Meron disaster.
“Don’t go to a left-wing government!!!” ads for the protest called on Bennett. “You promised a right-wing government. Keep [your promise]!!!”

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Coalition talks, protests canceled due to Mt. Meron tragedy – The Jerusalem Post

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