Israeli opposition figures reach deal aimed at ousting Netanyahu.

The far-right Israeli politician Naftali Bennett and opposition leader Yair Lapid have agreed to forge a coalition government that would see Binyamin Netanyahu ousted after 12 years in power.

Mr Bennett, a former settler leader and religious nationalist, announced in a televised address that he had made a pact with Mr Lapid. Mr Lapid has been deep in negotiations to forge a coalition government before a Wednesday deadline, and Mr Bennett was seen as a kingmaker.

“It’s my intention to do my utmost in order to form a national unity government along with my friend Yair Lapid, so that, God willing, together we can save the country from a tailspin and return Israel to its course,” Mr Bennett said.

Mr Bennett, who wants to annex most of the occupied West Bank, is much closer ideologically to Mr Netanyahu than Mr Lapid, a former TV news anchor popular with the country’s secular middle class. However, the offer could catapult Mr Bennett to high office.

According to local media reports on the deal, the 49-year-old tech millionaire who previously headed the defence and education ministries, would become prime minister for the first two years of a term, with Mr Lapid (57) replacing him for the final two.

If Mr Lapid can get an assortment of other parties to agree in the next three days – which is still not guaranteed – he could inform the country’s president, Reuven Rivlin, that he believes he can form a government, which would then go to parliament, the Knesset, for a vote.

The swearing-in of the new government, and with it Mr Netanyahu’s relinquishing of high office, could happen within a week.

‘Security challenges’

Despite vast differences between them, opponents of Mr Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges that he denies, have accused the 71-year-old of divisiveness and prioritising his hold on power above all else. Many have rallied behind the idea of what they call a “government of change”.

“We need a government that will reflect the fact that we don’t hate one another. A government in which left, right and centre will work together to tackle the economic and security challenges we face,” Mr Lapid said last week.

Mr Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party won the most seats in a March election and was given 28 days to build a majority coalition government. He too suggested a similar power-sharing deal with Mr Bennett but it was swiftly rejected. After the deadline passed on May 5th, Mr Lapid was handed a mandate under Israel’s electoral system.

Mr Lapid, once a finance minister whose Yesh Atid party came second in the last election, had sped up political consultations in recent days following the two-week Gaza conflict, which froze negotiations.

The self-proclaimed centrist and “security hawk” has sought to forge tricky alliances with parties from across the political spectrum.

He plans to bring together the establishment Labor and anti-occupation Meretz parties with their traditional enemies. They include Mr Bennett but also Avigdor Lieberman, who once suggested that “disloyal” members of the country’s Arab minority, who make up about 20 per cent of its population of 9 million, should be beheaded.

The diverse group may require outside backing by Arab members of parliament, including Islamists, who would help Mr Lapid clinch a 61-seat majority and dethrone Mr Netanyahu. However, their ideological differences are too great to be full coalition members, meaning Mr Lapid would probably form a minority government.

Deadlock

With such significant political differences, an anti-Netanyahu coalition could be liable to break apart. To prevent that from happening, it is expected to focus on the economy and the pandemic while avoiding big issues and keeping the status quo for millions of Palestinians living under occupation.

Mossi Raz, a Meretz parliamentarian, told Israel public radio that the proposed the government “will do a lot of good things. I’m not sure a peace agreement will be one of them”.

If the deal is successful, it could end both a political deadlock that has brought four snap elections since 2019 and Mr Netanyahu’s 12-year historic stretch as prime minister.

Mr Netanyahu fuelled speculation that his term was about to end on Sunday by offering a last-ditch offer to Mr Bennett and another rightwing party head, Gideon Saar. Under the deal, seen as the most generous to date from Mr Netanyahu, the three men would each “rotate” the role of prime minister. However, Mr Saar, a former Netanyahu protege-turned-opponent, rejected the advance. “Our position and commitment was and remains to change the Netanyahu regime,” he tweeted.

Mr Lapid took the role of head of the opposition from Benny Gantz, a former army chief who fought Mr Netanyahu during the past three elections but who lost support after he made a power-sharing deal with the prime minister that ultimately collapsed.

If Mr Lapid fails to announce a government by Wednesday, a fifth Israeli election later this year is a possible outcome. – Guardian

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Health Minister hints wedding restrictions could be eased despite lockdown lifting delay.

Health Minister hints wedding restrictions could be eased despite lockdown lifting delay.

Restrictions on weddings in England look set to be eased when the Prime Minister delays the rest of lockdown lifting later today, a minister has suggested. Health Minister Edward Argar said couples waiting to wed are “very much” in the mind of Bor...

'Freedom Day' is set to be delayed by the Prime Minister.

'Freedom Day' is set to be delayed by the Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson will plead with the nation to make "one last heave" to freedom as he announces a delay of four weeks in lifting lockdown restrictions in England. A government source has told Sky News the Prime Minister will dash hopes that 'Freedom ...

Kamala Harris doesn't go to border because it exposes her lies: Carter.

Kamala Harris doesn't go to border because it exposes her lies: Carter.

Fox News' Sara Carter and Peter Hegseth criticize the vice president's performance as 'border czar' on 'The Next Revolution.' #FoxNews #TheNextRevolution Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Chann...

Ted Robbins: 'You just go with a cardiac arrest'

Ted Robbins: 'You just go with a cardiac arrest'

Comedian Ted Robbins describes the moment he collapsed from a cardiac arrest in front of thousands of people during a show in 2015. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more videos: Follow us on Twitter: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Instagram...

CNN's Jim Acosta gives 'excruciating' fawning over Biden's Euro-trip.

CNN's Jim Acosta gives 'excruciating' fawning over Biden's Euro-trip.

'The Next Revolution' host Steve Hilton mocks the media's coverage of Biden's trip abroad. #FoxNews #TheNextRevolution Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompass...

Boris Johnson: 'China is a gigantic fact in our lives'.

Boris Johnson: 'China is a gigantic fact in our lives'.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said "China is a gigantic fact in our lives" and is a "strategic consideration for NATO" ahead of the summit. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more videos: Follow us on Twitter: Like us on Facebook: Follow us o...