Benny Gantz Agrees to Become Speaker of Israeli Parliament

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JERUSALEM — Benny Gantz, the former Israeli army chief who spent the last year challenging the long rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and fought him to a draw in three elections, was poised Thursday to take over instead as the new speaker of Parliament.

The move signaled his agreement to a demand by Mr. Netanyahu and paved the way for Mr. Gantz to sit in a Netanyahu-led emergency unity government, contrary to his campaign promises.

Mr. Gantz’s move immediately led to the breakup of his centrist Blue and White party.

He may also have doomed his own political future as a credible alternative to Mr. Netanyahu, some analysts said, but the shape of the new government was not immediately clear on Thursday afternoon.

Mr. Netanyahu has been urging Mr. Gantz to join forces with him to fight the coronavirus crisis after the most recent election, on March 2, left neither of them in a position to form a majority government.

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