Israeli opposition politicians have until midnight Wednesday to discuss final negotiations to build a coalition government that would end Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year career as prime minister.
Under the country’s electoral laws, opposition leader Yair Lapid’s 28-day mandate to forge a majority through alliance with rival parties ends on Wednesday. At that point, you should have informed the president that you have been successful.
If he fails, Netanyahu can be given a political lifeline in the form of snap elections.
Lapid and other party leaders met near Tel Aviv Tuesday afternoon to discuss the latest deals for a “government of change,” amid reports of a handful of disagreements over the control of ministries and committees.
Under the proposed deal, Lapid will not immediately become prime minister. Instead, his far-right political and political rival, Naftali Bennett, whose support is seen as vital to the coalition’s success, will become Israel’s leader for likely two years out of a four-year term.
Netanyahu and his ruling Likud party were desperately trying to find defectors and thwart the plan, especially appealing to politicians on the religious far right not to join Lapid, who has described himself as a secular centrist.
Lapid needs a 61-seat majority in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament, so losing a seat or two could end the attempt.
On Tuesday, Likud lawmaker and Knesset chairman Yariv Levin said politicians should not abandon their ideology.
“When you are faced with a moment like this, you say to yourself: ‘I must go with my truth, with my conscience, with what I have believed for so many years, now is when I go with the public that supported me and that I am committed . Now is when I act for the good of the land of Israel. It’s not too late, ‘”he told Kan public broadcaster.
Likud lawyers tried to stop the emerging coalition by claiming that Bennett’s right to serve first as prime minister was illegal. However, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin shot down the challenge on Tuesday.
If Lapid tells Rivlin that he believes he can form a government, it does not immediately end Netanyahu’s historic period in power or conclude a political deadlock that has brought four snap elections since 2019.
Before that happens, lawmakers will have to vote on the deal, which is expected in the next few days. Then there will be an inauguration, probably next week.
Bennett, a religious nationalist, is a staunch supporter of the settler movement in the Palestinian territories and has ruled out a Palestinian state. He will join an unlikely variety of parties, including the anti-occupation Labor and Meretz establishment. The group will also include the New Hope hardline party of former Netanyahu ally Gideon Sa’ar and Yisrael Beiteinu, a secular hardline party led by a Moldovan-born settler, Avigdor Lieberman.
Crucially, Lapid has also sought the backing of Islamist Arab members of parliament, who put ideological differences aside for the shared goal of dethroning “King Bibi,” as Netanyahu is known.
To avoid separating in a row, his fragile government would be expected to focus on the economy and the pandemic while avoiding tackling the huge problem of millions of Palestinians living under Israeli rule. Still, Bennett will have executive powers as prime minister to effect change or consolidate the status quo.
Netanyahu, who has held a senior position for 15 years since 1996, faces political dangers and potential threats to his freedom.
The 71-year-old, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, is currently fighting three corruption cases: on charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust, which he denies. If he enters the opposition, he may be denied parliamentary immunity, and the new government could pass legislation to ban him from office in the future.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism