Sep 20, 2019

Trump's Middle East envoy to meet Benny Gantz

Benny Gantz. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's Middle East envoy, plans to meet next week with Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White Party that won this week's Israeli elections, Blue and White officials tell me.

Why it matters: This will be the first time a senior White House official meets Gantz since he entered politics a year ago, and the first recognition of Gantz as an important political player in Israel.

What they're saying: A statement from Gantz's office said the U.S. embassy asked to set a meeting between Greenblatt and Gantz in the next few days and that the meeting will be scheduled soon.

Go deeper: Trump's Middle East envoy meets with Netanyahu after election loss

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Netanyahu and rival Gantz meet for first time since Israel elections

Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Benny Gantz. Photos: Menahem Kahana/AFP; Amir Levy via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leader of the Blue and White party Benny Gantz met on Monday for the first time since this month's elections.

Why it matters: The 2 leaders were summoned to a trilateral meeting with President Reuven Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem in an attempt to break the political deadlock and start negotiations on forming a unity government. The president of Israel is largely a ceremonial post, but Rivlin does have the authority to give a mandate to either Gantz or Netanyahu to form the next government.

Go deeperArrowSep 23, 2019

Trump's Middle East envoy meets with Netanyahu after election loss

Jason Greenblatt and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2017. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's envoy for Middle East peace, met in Jerusalem Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The backdrop: As had been expected, Netanyahu failed to win a parliamentary majority as the final results of Israel's elections were published this morning.

Go deeperArrowSep 20, 2019

Israel's Arab Joint List endorses Benny Gantz in bid to oust Netanyahu

Benny Gantz. Photo: Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Arab Joint List, recommended to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday that Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White Party and the main opponent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, form the next Israeli government.

Why it matters: This is the first time since 1992 that an Arab party in Israel has recommended one of the candidates for prime minister. The recommendation by the Arab Joint List brings the number of members of the Israeli parliament who support Gantz to 57, compared to 55 for Netanyahu. Since Netanyahu and Gantz virtually tied in last week's election, Odeh's move almost guarantees that Gantz will receive the mandate from Rivlin to form a government.

Go deeperArrowSep 22, 2019