— Internet News

Israel’s opposition leader says he has formed coalition to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel’s opposition leader Yair Lapid said late Wednesday he had succeeded in forming a coalition to end the rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving leader.

Once the 120-member Knesset legislature confirms it, it would end the long reign of the right-wing leader who has long dominated Israeli politics.

Mr. Lapid’s announcement came in the final hour before a midnight deadline, after he had hammered out deals with a group of diverse parties spanning the political spectrum, united in their desire to oust Mr. Netanyahu.

“Lapid informed the president of the state of Israel… that he has succeeded in forming a government,” his party said in a statement. Mr. Netanyahu later responded on Twitter, saying, “All legislators elected by votes from the right must oppose this dangerous left-wing government”.

It was the first public pushback by Mr. Netanyahu against Mr. Lapid’s announcement.

In two years, the right-wing nationalist tech millionaire Naftali Bennett, 49, would serve first as prime minister in a rotation deal before Mr. Lapid takes over.

“This government will work to serve all the citizens of Israel, including those who aren’t members of it, will respect those who oppose it, and do everything in its power to unite all parts of Israeli society,” Mr. Lapid told President Reuven Rivlin in a phone call.

The parties had been locked in days of grueling talks in a hotel near Tel Aviv before the alliance was formalized.

In front of the hotel where the negotiations took place, hundreds of demonstrators, both in favor of and opposed the “coalition of change”, rallied under a strong police presence.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Down to the wire

Last Sunday, Mr. Lapid, a former television presenter who heads the secular centrist party Yesh Atid, won the crucial support of Mr. Bennett, head of the Yamina “Rightward” party.

Mr. Lapid had to sign individual agreements with seven parties to build the anti-Netanyahu bloc.

They include the hawkish New Hope party of Mr. Netanyahu’s former ally Gideon Saar and right-wing secular nationalist Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party.

Also part of the alliance is the centrist Blue and White Party of Defence Minister Benny Gantz, the historically powerful Israeli Labour Party, and the dovish Meretz party.

The Arab Israeli Islamic conservative party Raam, Mansour Abbas, agreed late Wednesday to join the coalition after securing pledges for funds and policies.

“I just signed an agreement with Yair Lapid so that he can declare that he can form a government after reaching… agreements on various issues that serve the interest of Arab society,” he said. Although other Arab parties supported the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin from outside his coalition in the 1990s, Mr. Abbas was the first Arab politician in Israel to bargain for a role in the alliance openly, said political analyst Afif Abu Much.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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