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15 Mar, 2020 18:23

Israel’s Netanyahu tests negative for coronavirus... but his rival is entrusted with forming govt

Israel’s Netanyahu tests negative for coronavirus... but his rival is entrusted with forming govt

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Sunday flaunted a negative result for his Covid-19 test, branded "manipulation" by his rival Benny Gantz. The stunt seemingly didn’t help, as Gantz was then tapped to form the government.

The prime minister and those working close to him, had been tested for the deadly virus as a "precaution," while none of them displayed any symptoms of the disease.

The coronavirus test was harshly criticized by Netanyahu's political rival, the head of centrist Blue and White party Benny Gantz, who blamed the PM for staging a public stunt and "manipulating" the people. While the incumbent PM has been pushing for an "emergency unity government" with Gantz, claiming it is needed to fight the outbreak, Gantz has been reluctant to accept Netanyahu's advances.

Also on rt.com Netanyahu takes test for coronavirus despite lack of ANY symptoms amid trial delay uproar

Late on Sunday, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin’s office said that Gantz will be entrusted with forming the government, in a new attempt to end the country’s nearly year-long political deadlock.

"Tomorrow, around midday, the president will assign the task of forming the government to head of [Blue and White party] Benny Gantz," the statement said as quoted by Reuters.

Netanyahu critics, including Gantz, have accused the embattled PM of using the coronavirus scare as a pretext to delay his own corruption trial, after his cabinet imposed a ban on most court sessions in the country.

The trial, which was initially scheduled for March 17, has been shifted by over two months, and will commence no sooner than on May 24.

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