Benjamin Netanyahu is close to stepping down as prime minister Israel After 12 years in power. Leader of the Opposition, Centrist yair lapidy, this Wednesday (2) managed to form a broad coalition that includes right-wing Naftali Bennett. If parliament ratifies, which should happen next week, the two will serve alternately as Israel’s prime ministers.
The possible formation of Israel’s new government should end – at least for some time – an impasse that intensified two years ago, when Netanyahu failed to maintain the right-wing coalition that kept him in power.
Rivals arrange to form new government in Israel
Although he managed to form a coalition for a new government, The anti-Netanyahu group will have the challenge of cooperating with such diverse political groups as: For example, at times of tension between Israel and Palestine there are Israeli and Arab nationalists in the same alliance.
In this article you will see:
- Netanyahu has already left power?
- Why is it so difficult to form a new government in Israel?
- How did Netanyahu fail to stay in power?
- How did this alliance form?
- In what context does this change occur?
- Who is Naftali Bennett?
- Who is Yair Lapid?
Netanyahu has already left power?
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the start of his testimony at a corruption trial in Jerusalem – Photo: AP Photo / Raven Castro, Poole
Don’t do that. Netanyahu will remain prime minister until at least next week, when the Knesset – parliament – is expected to meet to ratify the new coalition that will start the new government.
The current prime minister may still try to persuade MPs to reject Lapid and Bennett’s alliance. For now, it is unlikely: after all, this alliance means precisely that the opposition managed to form a majority faction in parliament.
Why is it so difficult to form a new government in Israel?
Knesset overview, Parliament of Israel, November 2019 — Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP
To understand Israel’s political impasse, it is important to understand how the formation of an Israeli government works.
Israel is a parliamentary country that each elects 120 congressmen to the Knesset in an electoral process – a name given to Israel’s parliament. After the election, the party with 61 seats receives the right to nominate the Prime Minister from the President.
Recently, with electoral fragmentation in Israel, it has become difficult for any one party to reach 61 seats. Thus, it is the coalition that defines which group will have the power to choose the prime minister of Israel.
When a party leadership is close to achieving that parliamentary majority, the President of Israel – whose role is more formal – gives that leader a deadline to form alliances with other parties. If this does not happen in time, the president can either call the opposition leadership to try to form a government or call new elections..
And what happened to Netanyahu?
Benjamin Netanyahu greets ambassadors at an Israeli military base in February – Photo: Reuters/Sebastian Scheiner
In 2019, Netanyahu’s party Likud, Blue and White faced off in very close elections, the legend of rival Benny Gantz. With very little margin, President Reuven Rivlin gave the then prime minister the authority to form the government and remain in office, But the alliance did not form.
The standoff at that time had a name: Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the nationalist Israel Our House party who was one of Netanyahu’s main aides. Lieberman’s militaristic speech clashed at second base of the prime minister’s coalition: Orthodox Jews who refuse to enter compulsory military service.
Thus, fresh elections were called for the second half of 2019. Without success, another election – the third in less than a year – took place in March 2020. The result would have been the same, but due to the coronavirus pandemic so much Netanyahu and Gantz agreed to form a broad and temporary alliance between the two of them..
Although this alliance It was soon dissolved by various disagreements. between the two leaders. so, a the fourth election was scheduled for March 2021. This time, another name was the tip of the balance: Naftali Bennett, a right-wing millionaire who was once very close to Netanyahu and headed the Lamina party.
How did this alliance form?
Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid in pictures from March 24. Politicians have formed a coalition that could rule Israel – Photo: Ammar Awad/Amir Cohen/Reuters
The March 2021 election ended with Netanyahu’s Likud with 30 out of 120 seats. in spite of clear front, the result was considered bad for the prime minister’s pretense. He was also called upon to form a new alliance., But failed.
Second in the election was Yair Lapid’s 17-seat Yair Lapid party, Yesh Atid, which was already trying to form a coalition. which led, President Rivlin tells them to try to get a majority.
At first, Naftali Bennett – whose Yamina party won 7 congressmen – refused to support Lapid. Although he did not come to announce his support for former ally Netanyahu, the right-wing did not look favorably on government formation with more central leaders and Arab-Israeli groups. Issues such as the choice of judges were a major obstacle for politicians.
But Lapid and Bennett agreed to share power as follows:
- Bennett will be prime minister for the first two years of his term.
- Lapid will hold office for the next two years
Another notable feature of this coalition in Israel is its entry into the United Arab List, a minor Islamic party – this would be the first time that such a federation would integrate the governing base.
In other words, a broad coalition was formed to remove Netanyahu from power, with groups detached from Israeli politics who would have the challenge of maintaining the coalition so as not to throw Israel into a new impasse.
In what context should this change take place?
Light trails from Israel’s anti-missile system in action in the city of Ashkelon, May 11, 2021 — Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters
If the new government is confirmed, it will assume office as the region recovers from conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinian militias in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It is estimated that over 200 people were killed in the fighting. The ceasefire continues, but tensions remain.
This is likely to be a crisis point in a broad coalition made up of both Israeli nationalists and Islamic Arabs. It is still unclear how the groups will deal with these differences once the new government takes effect.
From an economic point of view, Israel is returning to normalcy after a successful vaccination plan against COVID-19. The number of coronavirus cases in the country is very low, and new deaths have come down to practically zero.
With a new government, Netanyahu’s future will also be uncertain: he is blamed for corruption in cases involving bribery and fraud. The final decision will still depend on testing, which has already resumed.
Lamina Party leader Naftali Bennett at Israel’s Parliament in Jerusalem on May 30 – Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Pool via AP
Naftali Bennett, 49, served as one of Netanyahu’s top advisers until he stepped down as prime minister. He leads the Yamina Party, considered conservative and nationalist, with military and religious appeal.
Bennett, a millionaire and associated with the field of technology, considers himself even more on the right side than Netanyahu. But he has said that former allies “use hatred and polarization as a political tool.”
One of the potential points of tension will be Bennett’s hardline stance on Palestine: he opposes the formation of a Palestinian state and was one of the largest pro-Israeli occupation leaders in the West Bank before entering politics.
Yair Lapid, the candidate of the opposition Yesh Atid Party in Tel Aviv, votes for Israel’s election – Photo: Corinna Kern / Reuters
At 57, Lapid leads a center group after making a name for himself as a journalist and television presenter. He was first elected to parliament in 2013, and his Yash Ateed party – meaning “has a future” – is gaining traction, especially among the non-religious middle class.
Lapid became one of the biggest voices in opposition to Netanyahu, but the name was overseen by Benny Gantz in the 2019 and 2020 elections. When Gantz joined Netanyahu in an unsuccessful attempt at a broad coalition during the pandemic, the centrist gained prominence.