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Netanyahu before Gantz. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival Benny Gantz signed a deal on Monday to form a “national emergency government,” ending more than a year of political deadlock in which Israel was forced to hold three elections.

Why it matters: Facing corruption charges and protests, Netanyahu will remain in office as prime minister — just weeks after it seemed like his political career was over. Netanyahu's trial has been postponed until May 24 as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

  • The agreement culminates a stunning about-face by Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White party who campaigned on ousting Netanyahu from office.
  • It also means Israel will avoid going to the polls for a fourth election.

Details: According to the coalition deal, both Netanyahu and Gantz will be sworn in together as prime minister and prime minister-designate. Netanyahu will serve for 18 months as prime minister, followed by 18 months for Gantz.

The deal also says Netanyahu can bring "the understandings with the Trump administration" on annexing parts of the West Bank to a discussion in the Cabinet, and to a vote either in the Cabinet or in the Knesset starting from July 1.

  • Netanyahu and Gantz will work "in full agreement with the U.S." regarding the Trump administration's peace plan, including on the issue of mapping the parts of the West Bank that the U.S. is ready to recognize as part of Israel.
  • The deal also says Netanyahu and Gantz will "engage in dialogue” with the international community on the issue of annexation “with the aim of preserving the security and strategic interests of Israel including maintaining regional stability, preserving existing peace agreements and working towards future peace agreements."

Between the lines: Netanyahu’s wish to annex the Jordan Valley and other parts of the occupied West Bank was one of the main sticking points in negotiations on the new government.

  • Gantz gave up on his demand to have a veto power over any decision on annexation. This issue is the only one in the coalition deal that Gantz doesn’t have veto power on.

The big picture: Netanyahu sees the potential annexation of parts of the West Bank as his main legacy as prime minister of Israel.

  • According to his aides, he wants to implement it well before the U.S. elections in November, fearing President Trump might lose and the move will not be possible if Joe Biden is in the White House.

What’s next: It's unclear whether the Trump administration will be able to seriously discuss the issue of annexation with the new Israeli government in the next few months, considering much of its focus remains on the coronavirus crisis.

Go deeper

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per authorities and a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.