If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fails to form a government within the next few days, Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid will receive the mandate to do so, according to a report. A source close to President Reuven Rivlin reportedly said the handover could happen when Netanyahu's mandate expires on May 4, suggesting Rivlin is planning to reject a likely request for extension from the sitting prime minister. During the previous round of recommendations, Netanyahu had 52 backers, while Lapid only got 45, which is why the initial mandate went to Netanyahu. However, the March 23 elections have left the Israeli leader with no clear pathway to forming a coalition. Lapid will likely need to persuade Naftali Bennett and his Yamina party in order to reach a coalition—a move Netanyahu is reportedly seeking to disrupt.
For the first time in ten months, no new COVID-19 deaths were reported in Israel across a full, 24-hour day. In data released by Israel's Health Ministry on Friday, the death toll remained unchanged from Thursday, holding at 6,346. The last date there were no fatalities related to the coronavirus was June 29, 2020, when morbidity levels remained subdued following the initial wave of infections. The Jewish state made other news on Thursday when it passed the milestone of having five million people fully vaccinated. Israel’s vaccination program, which is based on the Pfizer-BioNtech two-shot vaccine, has resulted in the highest per capita inoculation rate in the world. This success allowed the government to lift the nationwide outdoor mask mandate on Sunday, as the country seeks to move toward post-COVID-19 normalcy.
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