Thursday, July 7

Israel’s Fragile Anti-Netanyahu Coalition Race to Take Office | Israel

Israeli opposition politicians determined to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from office rush to establish a government as the country’s longest-serving prime minister gathered allies for an emergency meeting to strategize on how to bring down the fragile coalition.

One day after opposition leader Yair Lapid announced that he and Naftali Bennett, his far-right partner and pending prime minister, could form a “government of change,” the race began to vote in the parliament and be sworn in. on.

Questions and answers

Who is Yair Lapid?


Yair Lapid, a former telegenic television news anchor popular with secular middle-class Israelis, was accused of forging a governing coalition before the June 2 deadline.

Lapid’s Yesh Atid party has promised to reduce the cost of living and reduce the power of the religious authorities, for example, by bringing civil marriage.

The 57-year-old has described himself as a centrist and someone who supports a two-state solution. However, Lapid also said that he was a “security hawk” and that there were some issues that he would not engage in in any future negotiations with the Palestinians, such as control of Jerusalem, a critical issue in the crisis.

“The Palestinians want to destroy us more than they want to build a nation,” he said. in a recent interview with the Times of Israel. “And as long as this is the situation, there will not be two states.” Oliver holmes

Photograph: Debbie Hill / UPI POOL

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The process could take two weeks or more, all while the coalition remains vulnerable to collapse. It is made up of a mix of staunch ideological rivals, including Jewish religious nationalists and Arab Islamists, who are united only by a shared desire to topple Netanyahu.

Questions and answers

Who is Naftali Bennett?


Naftali Bennett, a former leader of the far-right settlers, was once Benjamin Netanyahu’s assistant and senior adviser and headed Israel’s education and defense ministries in their governments.

Bennett, who wants to annex most of the occupied West Bank, remains ideologically close to Netanyahu and was once a member of his ruling Likud party. However, the 49-year-old has faced his former boss.

A stalwart of Israel’s religious right, Bennett is a former leader of Yesha, the main Jewish settler movement in the West Bank. It has made settlement expansion, the annexation of Palestinian land and the rejection of a Palestinian state a feature of its political platform.

“I would not give an inch more to the Arabs”, said in 2018. “We have to abandon the idea that if we give them more territory, the world will love us.”

The son of immigrants from San Francisco, Bennett became a high-tech millionaire after selling an anti-fraud software company to an American security company. On some issues, the former commander is less conservative than his far-right counterpart, including gay rights and the relationship between religion and the state. Oliver holmes

Photography: Yonatan Sindel / Pool Flash 90

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On Thursday, the opposition was fighting for the chairman of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to schedule a vote of confidence in the proposed government. However, the speaker, Yariv Levin, is a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party and has powers to delay, giving his boss more time to maneuver.

In his first comments since Lapid announced the proposed coalition, Netanyahu tweeted Thursday morning that all right-wing legislators “must oppose this dangerous left-wing government.” He accused the Lapid-Bennett administration of having “sold out” to the country’s Arab minority politicians.

The opposition coalition had a very slim 61-seat seat margin in the 120-seat Knesset, meaning the cold feet of a single lawmaker could topple it.

A member of Bennett’s Yamina party had already defected earlier this week, following a protest among the far-right that Bennett would join “left” parties and Arab lawmakers, politicians he had long mocked. its nationalist base.

In days of protests outside Bennett’s home, former supporters have called him a traitor. Israel’s national intelligence service, the Shin Bet, said Thursday that it had provided Bennett with bodyguards.

Meanwhile, voices from Netanyahu’s party increased the pressure. Gilad Sharon, the son of the late Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, accused Bennett on Thursday of “selling off his principles, which have proven to be very flexible, for the sake of a job.”

For the first time in Israel, where about a fifth of the population are Palestinian citizens, a small party of Islamists signed up to join the government. The leader of the United Arab List, Mansour Abbas, is seen as a pragmatist. He hopes to secure billions of shekels in investments for the minority and freeze home demolitions in Arab communities.

Abbas told Army Radio on Thursday that he expected other Arab lawmakers who want Netanyahu to leave, but who have also refused to support Bennett, to back the proposed government to bolster their slim majority.

“Efforts are being made to expand the circle of support for the coalition and the government … then we will have more of a safety net for the coalition,” he said.

Netanyahu, who has held a senior position for a total of 15 years since 1996, gathered allies at his residence. He faces political danger, but also potential threats to his freedom.

The 71-year-old is 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.

Abbas said Netanyahu had been calling him on Wednesday before he signed the coalition agreement in hopes of changing his mind. Abbas said: “I think it is natural that there are conversations and pressure in politics.”

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