Israel’s latest political drama adds to the problems of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is being prosecuted on corruption charges.
Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on Wednesday informed the president that he can form a coalition government to an extent that puts an end to the 12 years of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, was in charge of forming a government by President Reuven Rivlin after Netanyahu fails to reunite his own coalition after Israel’s fourth inconclusive elections in less than two years.
Lapid, a former television presenter and secular centrist, on Sunday won the crucial support of religious nationalist Naftali Bennett, a technology billionaire who has held various government portfolios, including the defense ministry.
Beit HaNasi spox:
In accordance with paragraph 13 (b) of the Basic Law: the government (2001), president of Yesh Atid MK @yairlapid has informed Israeli President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin that he has been able to form a government.
– Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) June 2, 2021
Israel’s latest political drama adds to Netanyahu’s problems, who are being prosecuted on criminal charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust during office, accusations he denies.
After losing his job as prime minister, he will not be able to push for changes in basic laws that could give him immunity and he will lose control over certain nominations to the justice ministry.
Netanyahu’s Likud won more seats in the March 23 election, but was unable to form a majority with its natural allies. Crucially, Bennett’s far-right party – allied with Netanyahu – refused to join forces with him. the united Arab list, a party that emerged as a kind of king.
Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White said in a joint statement that they “agreed on government schemes and basic issues related to strengthening democracy and Israeli society.”
Gantz would remain Minister of Defense in the new cabinet, the parties said.
Agreements were also reached with the left-wing Meretz and center-left Labor parties, as well as with the nationalist party Yisrael Beitenu of former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, a Lapid spokesman said.
The united Arab list was also agreed upon to join the coalition. If the government is formed, it would be the first time in the history of Israel that an independent Arab party becomes a member of the government.
Netanyahu, who has been in power for the past 12 years, has tried to discredit Bennett and other right-wingers negotiating with Lapid, saying they endangered Israel’s security.