The swearing-in of Israel's new government will not take place on Wednesday afternoon as initially planned, and is now scheduled for no earlier than Thursday at 10 P.M.
The reason for the delay is that the Knesset can only vote on a new government after a new Knesset speaker is elected. Although Benny Gantz resigned from his post on Tuesday, he did so close to 10 P.M. - and the resignation goes into effect only after 48 hours.
In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan and the Labor Party must submit to the Knesset the fundamentals of the new government as well as the coalition agreements at least 24 hours before voting on the coalition.
Another still-unfulfilled condition for swearing-in the new government is a letter from Netanyahu to President Reuven Rivlin, in which he would announce that he has succeeded in forming a government.
Before resigning Tuesday, Gantz was still considering his options, fearing the collapse of the deal with Netanyahu. The title of Knesset Speaker is Gantz's main leverage against Netanyahu: As long as his party holds the post, it controls proceedings in the Knesset and can restrict Netanyahu's ability to push legislation or approve budgets.
Levin instead of Gantz
The next Knesset speaker is expected to be Likud's Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin, who had submitted his resignation and been approved for the position by the Likud party.
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Yuli Edelstein, who served as Knesset Speaker before Gantz for seven years, accepted Netanyahu's offer of serving as Health Minister on Tuesday.
On Monday, Netanyahu announced that Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan will take on the post of Israel’s Ambassador to both the United States and the United Nations. Erdan reportedly accepted the offer because he realized many Likud lawmakers were vying for relatively few government portfolios in the new government.
During a phone call Monday night, Netanyahu offered Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party the education and Jerusalem portfolios, a deputy ministerial post in charge of national civil service and settlements, both subjects close to the heart of the national religious public that are Yamina’s base. But Bennett held out for the ministries of transportation and health, which Netanyahu rejected.
In a last-ditch effort to make Yamina join the coalition, Netanyahu will meet with Bennett later on Wednesday.