Home Global News Netanyahu rivals agree to form new government to remove Israeli leader

Netanyahu rivals agree to form new government to remove Israeli leader


TEL AVIV—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rivals agreed to form a coalition government that would remove the country’s longest-serving leader, a major political shake-up as the nation sided with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas Wants to protect a delicate conflict.

If the government is sworn in within the next two weeks, Mr Netanyahu will hand power for the first time to the most diverse coalition in Israel’s history, including an independent Arab party. According to a statement by Mr Lapid, Yair Lapid, who leads the centrist Yesh Atid party, and Naftali Bennett, who heads the right-wing Yamina party, will work together with six other parties, including one of Israel’s Arab parties. , including Ram.

“The government will do everything possible to unite every part of Israeli society,” Mr Lapid said late Wednesday.

Mr Lapid has informed the Israeli president of his government formation plan, the statement said.

After Mr. Lapid informs the President, Parliament has by law about 12 days to administer the oath to the government.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been at the top since 2009.


Sebastian Skinner / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Mr Netanyahu may still attempt to undo the coalition deal in this period, in order to assure enough right-wing lawmakers to vote against the new government.

deal comes a few days later Mr. Bennett made his plans public To join Mr Lapid in the alliance.

The two leaders will lead the government in turn, with Mr Bennett serving as prime minister first for two years, followed by Mr Lapid, who will first serve as foreign minister.

According to a video of the scene published by Mr. Bennett’s party, Mr. Bennett told the President of Israel in a phone call with Mr. Lapid, “With God’s help, we will do what is good for Israel and get it back on track.” Will bring.” .

Officials involved in the talks said Benny Gantz of Blue & White would be defense minister, New Hope’s Gideon Saar would be justice minister, Israel Beitinu’s Avigdor Lieberman would be finance minister and Yamina’s Aylet Shek would be interior minister.

Hundreds of people gathered on opposite sides of the street to express support or protest for a potential new government, according to TV footage, outside the hotel where talks took place near Tel Aviv.

Parties must iron out their ideological differences on key issues as the coalition tries to revive an economy that has been hurt COVID-19 Lockdown keeping Israelis safe amid escalating tensions with Hamas. Last month, fighting between Israel and Hamas killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, and 12 people, including two children, were killed in Israel.

Mr Lapid later received the mandate Mr Netanyahu failed to form a government This is the country’s fourth election since 2019, after an inconclusive March election.

Mr Bennett controls seven seats in the parliament of the Knesset, Israel, compared to Mr Lapid’s 17. But right-wing Jewish Israelis, who previously supported Mr Netanyahu’s governments, may find a more politically favorable candidate for prime minister.

Mr Bennett’s Yamina party released a video celebrating the agreement. “We’re going out [election] loop [and] establishment of government. Do you support unity? So let’s hear it from you,” the video said.

President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been working together for decades, but their Israel-Hamas friendship is facing new tests. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seb takes a look back at the key moments of their past 15 years of relationship, and what could happen next. Photo Illustration: Todd Johnson

M/s Bennett and Lapid faced a difficult task in forming an alliance from a group of rivals, some of whom are united only in their desire to replace Mr. Netanyahu, who in corruption case. He denies any wrongdoing.

Mr Netanyahu’s case is ongoing, and analysts said he is in a better position to face charges while he is prime minister. While out of office, he shall be unable to pursue any law or make any appointment which may dissuade him from the charges.

Ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, Mr Netanyahu’s supporters, including lawmakers from his right-wing Likud party, went to persuade some right-wing lawmakers to leave the potential coalition, according to people familiar with the matter.

Defection of just one or two MPs could prevent a new coalition from securing a majority and force another election.

Mr Netanyahu enjoys support among Israel’s right-wing and religious voters, which has helped him maintain a steady grip on power since 2009.

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He also served three years as prime minister in the 1990s. He described the new coalition as a dangerous and left-wing government that would not be able to confront Iran or face other security challenges.

“Don’t form a leftist government. Such a government is a threat to Israel’s security and also a threat to the future of our country,” Mr Netanyahu said.

He is expected to become leader of the opposition, but may face leadership challenges from other members of his Likud party who are dismayed by his repeated failures to form a government. he defeated such a challenge From a former hero, Gideon Saar, late 2019.

But as more lawmakers soured on the idea of ​​working with a prime minister under indictment, Mr Netanyahu had no choice.

Emmanuel Navon, Professor of Political Science at Tel Aviv University, said, “He has really managed to create an atmosphere in Likud of resistance against criticism, and so as long as they not only smell the blood but see it, no one Will not break in Likud.” A former member of Likud.

Liberal daily Haretz published an editorial on Tuesday with the headline, “Stop the madness.”

“There is a dire need to replace the dangerous leader who has caused great harm to the country,” the statement said.

If they can take the oath of government, M/s Bennett and Lapid are faced with the challenge of keeping their unstable government together for more than a few months – or even back in another election.

Mr. Bennett, 49, is a former Israeli military commando who later co-founded an anti-fraud software firm and made millions of dollars selling it. He is a former defense and education minister as well as a former aide to Mr. Netanyahu. While serving as defense minister, he presided over Israel’s first coronavirus lockdown, an effort that was initially seen as a success. Israel’s caseload later skyrocketed after Mr Netanyahu moved to reopen the economy, but Mr Bennett was not part of the government by then.

The parties in the emerging coalition agree little: some want to join the Palestinians, while others want to annex the West Bank. They also disagree on Israel’s judicial system, with some opposing a more liberal role for the courts and others taking a broader view of what the court’s powers should be.

A new government will have to take steps to boost economic growth while keeping the pandemic under control.

During this, ceasefire between Israel and Gaza ruler Hamasi It remains fragile even after 11 days of intense fighting, as both sides seek to consolidate their gains. Egypt has been mediating indirect discussions between Israel and Hamas over a long-standing ceasefire arrangement.

The conflict was the worst since the last three wars in 2014 and appeared to save Mr Netanyahu’s position for a while. But after the unconditional ceasefire ended, talks resumed between his political rivals.

Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party won the most seats in the last election—30—but fail to unite Ask Israel’s right-wing and religious parties around you or some of them to work with an Islamic party to keep it in control.

Israeli-Palestinian Crisis

write to Felicia Schwartz and felicia.schwartz@wsj.com

improvement and amplification
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rivals agreed to form a new government to oust him. An earlier headline incorrectly stated “Israel’s Netanyahu ousted as prime minister as rivals form a coalition government.” (corrected June 2)

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