Although Lapid has the mandate to form the government under the agreement, it is Naftali Bennett – leader of the smaller right-wing party Yamina and kingmaker in coalition talks – who is set to become prime minister for the first two years of a coalition. term of four years. Lapid will serve as foreign minister until the two individuals swap roles for half of their term.
Lapid said in a statement, “The government will work to serve all citizens of Israel, including those who are not its members, respect those who oppose it, and unite all parts of Israeli society.” I will do everything in my power for you.”
The deal is a seismic event in recent Israeli political history as it could affect the final days of Netanyahu’s 12-year term.
The coalition agreement now must pass a vote of confidence in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, before the new government and prime minister are sworn in.
The new government includes parties across the political spectrum, from the leftist Meretz to Bennett’s right-wing Yamina Party.
In a historic moment, the smaller Islamic party United Arab List also decided to join the coalition, marking the first time an Arab-Israeli party has joined a coalition. The party is unlikely to have a minister in the government, but talks with the coalition will be held on issues important to him.
Bennett is the son of American immigrants and a former elite commando in the Israeli military who has made millions in the Israeli tech industry.
He previously served as Minister of Defence, Economy and Education under Netanyahu, but is politically more right-wing than the longtime Israeli leader on some issues, especially those related to relations with the Palestinians. But he is more liberal when it comes to social issues like LGBTQ rights.
Bennett once led the West Bank settlers organization and has previously stated that he does not believe in a two-state solution that would establish a state for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
Following the March elections, the President of Israel tasked Netanyahu to form a government in accordance with election law, within 28 days after the vote. But the prime minister was unable to garner enough support to control a minimum of 61 seats in the Knesset, Israel’s 120-seat parliament.
According to Israeli law, the Knesset must hold a vote of confidence within one week after the formation of a new government is formally notified. The move may not happen until Monday, which means voting could take place until June 14.
That means there is still time for Netanyahu and his allies to persuade people to break away from the bloc, or somehow procedurally tie things up in parliament. The collapse of a ceasefire or some other external event in Gaza with the Hamas-led militants could also topple the new government.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu remains prime minister until someone else is sworn in. In addition to losing his role as the leader of Israel’s government, Netanyahu faces perhaps an even greater threat: an ongoing trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust – allegations he denies.
Experts said that if Netanyahu is ousted, it could end any political effort to prevent trial and possible jail time by appointing a new attorney general or by influencing the appointment of some judges, who could affect their trial, experts said.
Netanyahu on Sunday slammed Bennett for calling him a “fraud of the century”, portraying him as a power-hungry politician who “only cares about himself.” It was a statement that some Israeli political observers found more than ironic when considering Netanyahu’s previous political maneuvers.
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