After a five-month political deadlock, Israel’s newly-elected parliamentarians agreed to form a new coalition government on Tuesday, bringing to a close months of political stalemate.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that his closest rivals in the upcoming elections agreed to form a new coalition to oust him from power. The two parties, the center-right Likud and the center-left Zionist Union, said in a statement that they would form a new government “after the election” that will “succeed in turning the Israeli government into a government that can solve its problems and lead the country to even greater achievements.”
Tel Aviv – Prime Minister of Israel Binyamin Netanyahu The rivals have agreed to form a coalition government to replace the country’s longest-serving leader. It is a major political upheaval as the country tries to maintain a fragile ceasefire with the Palestinian militant group Hamas. When the government is sworn in over the next two weeks, Netanyahu will hand over power to the most diverse coalition in Israel’s history, which will include an independent Arab party for the first time. Yair Lapid, who heads the centrist Yesh Atid party, and Naftali Bennett, who heads the right-wing Yamin Party, will join forces with six other parties, including one of Israel’s Arab Ra’am parties, Lapid said in a statement. The government will make every effort to unite all sectors of Israeli society, Lapid said on Wednesday. Lapid informed the Israeli president of his plans to form a government, the statement said. By law, parliament has about 12 days to swear in the government after Lapid briefs the president.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has led the country since 2009.
Photo: Sebastian Shaner/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images Netanyahu could still try to cancel the coalition agreement during this period by convincing enough right-wing lawmakers to vote against the new government. The deal came days after Mr Bennett announced his intention to join Mr Lapid in the coalition. The two heads of government will alternate leading the country, with Bennett serving his first two-year term as prime minister and Lapid initially as foreign minister. God willing, we will do what is right for Israel and get it back on track, Bennett told the Israeli president in a phone conversation with Lapid, according to a video of the scene released by Bennett’s party. Blue and white Benny Ganz. will be secretary of defense, New Hope. Gideon Saar. becomes Minister of Justice, Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu becomes Minister of Finance, and Yamina becomes Minister of Finance. Ayelet Shaked will become interior minister, according to officials involved in the talks. Outside the hotel where the talks between the two sides took place near Tel Aviv, hundreds of people gathered on both sides of the street to show their support or opposition to the possible new government, according to television footage. The parties will have to put aside their ideological differences on key issues as the coalition seeks to revive the economy damaged by the Covid 19 blockade and ensure Israelis’ security amid escalating tensions with Hamas. Clashes between Israel and Hamas last month killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, and 12 people in Israel, including two children. Lapid was given the mandate after Netanyahu failed to form a government following an undecided election in March, the country’s fourth since 2019. Bennett holds seven seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, compared to Lapid’s 17. But right-wing Israeli Jews who have so far supported Mr Netanyahu’s government may see him as a more politically acceptable candidate for the premiership. Bennett’s Yamin party released a video about the deal. We step out of the [electoral] circuit and form a government. Do you support the unit? So let’s hear from you, says the video. President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have worked together for decades, but their friendship is being tested by the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Gerald F. Seib of the WSJ looks back at key moments in the past 15 years of their relationship and what might happen next. Illustration photo: Todd Johnson Bennett and Lapid face the arduous task of forming a coalition from a group of rivals, some united only by their desire to replace Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption. He denies any wrongdoing. Netanyahu’s case continues, and analysts say he has more opportunities to litigate as long as he remains prime minister. Outside of his office, he will not be able to pass laws or make appointments that would protect him from impeachment. In the run-up to Wednesday’s deadline, Netanyahu’s supporters, including members of his right-wing Likud party, worked hard to convince some right-wing members to reject the proposed coalition, according to people familiar with the matter. The departure of one or two MPs could prevent the new coalition from achieving a majority and forcing new elections. Netanyahu enjoys the support of right-wing and religious voters in Israel, which has allowed him to remain in power consistently since 2009.
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How will a coalition government in Israel deal with the challenges, including relations with Hamas and restoring the economy after the pandemic? Join the discussion below. In the 1990s, he was also prime minister for three years. He called the new coalition a dangerous, left-wing government that will not be able to address Iran or other security issues. Don’t form a left-wing government. Such a government is a danger to Israel’s security and a danger to the future of our country, Netanyahu said. He is expected to become the leader of the opposition, but may be challenged by other members of his Likud party, who are frustrated by his repeated failures to form a government. He has given his former protégé Gideon Saar such a challenge in late 2019. But as more and more lawmakers rejected the idea of working with a prime minister under investigation, Netanyahu was left with no other choice. Indeed, he has succeeded in creating an atmosphere in which critics within the Likud are hemmed in, and as long as they don’t smell blood but don’t see it either, no one in the Likud will crack, says Emmanuel Navon, a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University and a former Likud member. The liberal newspaper Haaretz published an editorial on Tuesday titled Stop the Madness. There was an urgent need to replace a dangerous leader who was doing a lot of damage to the country, he added. If they succeed in swearing in the government, Mr Bennet and Mr Lapid will be faced with the problem of maintaining their broken government for more than a few months or returning for new elections. Bennett, 49, is a former Israeli army commander who co-founded a company that fights fraud and made millions of dollars selling software. He is also a former minister of defense and education, and a former adviser to Mr. Netanyahu. During his tenure as defense minister, he led Israel’s first operation against the coronavirus, which was initially considered a success. In Israel, prices rose dramatically after Mr Netanyahu took steps to rebuild the economy, but Mr Bennett was no longer in government at the time. The parties in the emerging coalition have little in common: Some want to negotiate with the Palestinians, others want to push through the annexation of the West Bank. They are also divided on the Israeli justice system, with some opposed to a more liberal role for the courts and others having a broader view of what the authority of the court should be. The new government will have to take measures to stimulate economic growth while containing the pandemic. Meanwhile, the ceasefire between Israel and the ruling Hamas party in Gaza remains fragile after 11 days of fierce fighting, as both sides seek to consolidate their victories. Egypt mediates indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas on longer-term cease-fire agreements. The conflict was the worst since the last of the three wars in 2014 and seemed to save Mr Netanyahu’s position for a time. But after it ended with an unconditional ceasefire, talks resumed between the political rivals. Netanyahu’s Likud party won the most seats in the last election, 30, but was unable to unite Israel’s right-wing and religious parties around it or to get some of them to cooperate with the Islamist party to maintain control.
-Dov Lieber contributed to this article. Email Felicia Schwartz at [email protected]. Corrections and additions The rivals of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed to form a new government to overthrow him. A previous title was wrong: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is removed from office as his rivals form a coalition government. (corrected June 2.) Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
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