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Gantz (L) and Rivlin. Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP via Getty Images

Benny Gantz, leader of the center-left Blue and White party, has been formally granted a mandate to form Israel's next government after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed he'd failed to do so for the second time in six months.

Why it matters: This is the first time since 2008 that anyone other than Netanyahu has been asked to form a government. In a speech carried live by all of Israel's TV networks, President Reuven Rivlin referred to Netanyahu as "the outgoing prime minister." Still, Gantz faces long odds of cobbling together a majority.

What he's saying: Gantz said he hopes to form a “liberal unity government” and is planning to meet with all political factions in the next few days including the Arab Joint List. Gantz said his government will be open to all parties who agree with his platform and reject racism and violence.

  • Gantz also called for negotiations to begin immediately for a unity government including Blue and White and Netanyhu's right-wing Likud.
  • Such negotiations stalled previously because Gantz and Netanyahu both refused to let the other serve as prime minister first.
  • Gantz warned Netanyahu that if he drags Israel into a third election this year the Israeli public will not forgive him.
  • He urged Netanyahu, who faces looming corruption indictments, “to act responsibly and realize that his legal status and the results of the elections point at the need for change."

What’s next: Gantz has 28 days to form a coalition. He is expected to meet separately tomorrow with Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, who has emerged as a kingmaker because his secular conservative party is allied with neither Gantz nor Netanyahu.

  • If Gantz fails, Rivlin will have 21 days to find a solution. Otherwise, Israel will have yet another election.

Go deeper: Trump calls Netanyahu "one of my closest allies" in birthday card

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Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

We all know, it’s getting worse.

Reality check: Here are a few things every one of us can do to stay safe and sane in coming months:

Biden's debut nightmare

President-elect Biden speaks in Wilmington on Nov. 24. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

A dim, gloomy scene seems increasingly set for Joe Biden's debut as president.

The state of play: He'll address — virtually — a virus-weary nation, with record-high daily coronavirus deaths, a flu season near its peak, restaurants and small businesses shuttered by wintertime sickness and spread.

Using apps to prevent deadly police encounters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mobile phone apps are evolving in ways that can stop rather than simply document deadly police encounters with people of color — including notifying family and lawyers about potential violations in real time.

Why it matters: As states and cities face pressure to reform excessive force policies, apps that monitor police are becoming more interactive, gathering evidence against rogue officers as well as posting social media videos to shame the agencies.