Israel’s Second-Largest Party Brings Down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel’s opposition parties announced that they have reached an agreement to form a government and thus end the 12-year term of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

President Reuven Rivlin had given opposition leader Yair Lapid a deadline – which expired at midnight on Wednesday – to gain sufficient support in Parliament and form a new government.

Under the agreement, the leader of the right-wing Yamina party, the religious ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett, will take over as prime minister first and then be replaced in August 2023 by the secular centrist Lapid.

The Islamist United Arab List party (Ra’am, in Hebrew) was the political formation that ensured the new governing coalition.

Opposition leader Yaır Lapid called President Reuven Rivlin late in the evening to tell him that he had gathered the necessary support to form a “coalition for change” against Netanyahu, his services said in a statement. ..

The end of an intensive day of consultations between President Reuven Rivlin and party leaders ahead of the granting of a mandate to form a government revealed last night (Monday) that none of them has a majority of 61 MKs to form a coalition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the highest number of recommenders – 52 – after receiving the recommendations of the Likud, Torah Judaism, Shas and Religious Zionism. Immediately after him is the chairman of Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, with 45 recommenders – Yesh Atid, Blue and White, Labor, Meretz, and Yisrael Beiteinu. About a man. The Arab parties RAAM and the joint list also did not recommend anyone.

New Hope representative Yifat Shasha Bitton told President Rivlin that her party recommends the president summon Bennett and Lapid to exhaust the possibility of forming a government: “We pledge to accept any agreement they reach.” President Rivlin rejected a new offer of hope: “I can not interfere with political intervention.” He added that “I do not see how a government is formed.”

Rivlin often speaks of the one with the highest chances: “The main consideration that will guide me is to place the role of the government train on the Knesset member with the highest chances of forming the government that will win the Knesset trust.” In this test, it is difficult to assess who has better chances. Towards Netanyahu, due to religious Zionism’s refusal to be supported by outside PM, he will have to pull his bloc to the right and persuade her to be supported by PM, or to pull another party from the bloc instead of right or side. Another option is to pull the right to the bloc and recruit two defectors from another party to complete the required majority of 61 MKs. These moves seem at this stage almost impossible. On the other hand, Lapid or Bennett will have to reach an agreement on one of two options: Lapid’s resignation of the prime minister in favor of Bennett, or a rotation in Bennett-Lapid in which Bennett will insist on being the first. Either way, the government will appoint only 58 Knesset members and will have to be supported from the outside by the PM, a problematic move for Yisrael Beiteinu and a right that depends entirely on the strength of their desire to replace Netanyahu.