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Israel's Rival Factions Unite Against COVID-19 -- for Now

Mar 20, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Officials in hazmat suits disinfect the outside a tram as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak in Jerusalem, Israel on March 16, 2020.

Officials disinfect a tram as a precaution against the coronavirus in Jerusalem, Israel on March 16, 2020.

(Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold in Israel, its political factions are being forced to consider once unthinkable compromises to put the country on the right footing against the mounting existential threat. On March 16, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin officially tasked Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz with forming a government in the next 28 days. Gantz has since pledged to create a national unity government, which, compared with the country's current caretaker government, would have more political strength and legal authority to quickly and sufficiently mitigate the anticipated economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis.  Indeed, Israel's current quarantine efforts -- most of which have only been used during wartime -- are already estimated to cost the country 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2020. But even with this new pandemic-induced sense of unity, a makeshift government will unlikely be strong enough to prevent additional coronavirus-induced unrest...

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