DEVELOPMENT OF THE STORY
Yair Lapid tells the Israeli president that he can form a coalition government that will end the twelve-year government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has told the president that he could form a coalition government, in a move that would put an end to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 years in power.
Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, was the task of forming a government by President Reuven Rivlin after Netanyahu failed to form his own coalition after Israel’s fourth undecided election in less than two years.
Lapid said in a statement on Twitter on Wednesday that he had informed Rivlin of the agreement. “This government will work for all the citizens of Israel, those who voted for it and those who did not. “It will do everything in its power to unite Israeli society,” he said in a statement issued shortly before midnight (21:00 GMT).
Congratulations to you @yairlapid and to the heads of the parties about your agreement to form a government. We expect the Knesset to convene as soon as possible to ratify the government, as required.
– Reuven Rivlin (@PresidentRuvi) 2 June 2021
Lapid, a former TV presenter and secular centrist, on Sunday garnered crucial support from hardline religious nationalist Naftali Bennett, a tech multimillionaire who includes a number of government portfolios, including the Ministry of Defense.
Under the coalition agreement, Bennett and Lapid would change the role of prime minister, while Bennett served the first two years and Lapid the last two.
The agreement has yet to be voted on in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, where it needs majority support before the government can be sworn in.
Israel’s latest political drama contributes to the misery of Netanyahu, who faces criminal charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust while in office – accusations he denies.
After losing his job as Prime Minister, he will not be able to work through the changes to the basic laws that could give him immunity and he will lose control over certain nominations for justice.
Netanyahu’s Likud won the most seats in the March 23 election, but he could not form a majority with his natural allies. Most importantly, Bennett’s far-right party – affiliated with Netanyahu – refused to cooperate. the united arab list, a party that emerged as a kind of kingmaker.
Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White said in a joint statement that they “agree on the outlines of the government and core issues regarding the strengthening of democracy and Israeli society”.
Gantz will remain defense minister in the new cabinet, the parties said.
A Lapid spokesman also agreed with left-wing Meretz and center-left Labor parties, as well as former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.
The United Arab List has also agreed to join the coalition. If the government is formed, it would be the first time in Israel’s history that an independent Arab party becomes a member of the government.
Netanyahu, who has been in power for the past twelve years, has sought to discredit Bennett and other right-wingers who are negotiating with Lapid, saying they are endangering the security of Israel.