Netanyahu to Keep PM's Residence After Gantz Replaces Him, Draft Coalition Deal Shows

Draft coalition agreement calls for taxpayers to fund residences for both PM and his deputy ■ Gantz's party says he intends to remain in his own home after becoming prime minister

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, March 17, 2020.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak, March 17, 2020.Credit: Emil Salman
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

A draft of the coalition agreement being finalized between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz allows Netanyahu to remain in his official residence even after he hands over the position in 18 months and becomes Deputy Prime Minister.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 72

The draft permits funding for housing for both the prime minister and the so-called deputy, the role Gantz is to have for the first half of the proposed unity government, with Netanyahu filling it for the second.

If agreed upon by both parties, the decision is still dependent on approval by the Knesset Finance Committee.

Sources in Kahol Lavan told Haaretz that Gantz wants to remain in his home in Rosh Ha’ayin when he replaces Netanyahu as prime minister, and does not wish to move to the official residence in Jerusalem. If the move is approved by the Knesset committee, tax funds will actually pay only for the deputy’s residence, should Netanyahu choose to stay in the Jerusalem residence once Gantz becomes prime minister.

Kahol Lavan said in response to this report: “Gantz plans to keep living in his home in Rosh Ha’ayin until he actually enters the role of prime minister.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's offical residence on Balfour Street, Jerusalem, designed by architect Richard Kaufmann.Credit: Yaakov Saar/Government Press Office

As reported in Haaretz on Tuesday, the coalition agreement taking shape between Likud and Kahol Lavan includes a mechanism regulating the appointment of judges, so this can be done only with the agreement of both parties.

According to the emerging agreement, the Knesset’s Judicial Selection Committee will be headed by the justice minister, which is supposed to be someone from Kahol Lavan. The committee is also to include another minister and two lawmakers, one from the coalition and one from the opposition, meaning Likud can fill two of the positions on the committee.

Assuming that the government taking shape has a long enough lifespan, the committee can appoint in April a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, who is stepping down, and replacements for two other justices in the spring of 2022.

According to the likely agreement between Kahol Lavan and Likud, neither side will be able to get a judge appointed without the other's approval.

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