Report: Bennett and Lapid reach agreement on forming coalition to oust Netanyahu
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett has agreed to create a governing coalition with Yair Lapid, the leader of Yesh Atid, according to an unfunded report on Friday on a deal that could pave the way for the ousting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after more a decade in power.
The Channel 12 report came as Lapid and Netanyahu both scrambled to align their support for a government before the June 2 deadline, with Bennett potentially holding the keys to their political destiny.
“I intend to start talks and efforts to form a government that we will both lead,” Bennett told Lapid on Friday, according to Channel 12, which reported that a deal had been reached despite the apparently non-binding nature of the message.
Bennett will announce the deal to the public in the coming days and the government will be sworn in on June 8, according to the network.
According to the report, Bennett would serve as prime minister for the first two years and three months of the rotating government, before Lapid takes over in September 2023 for the final two years and three months. He said an announcement would come after Shabbat on Saturday night or Sunday.
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The channel noted that Yamina No.2 Ayelet Shaked could still torpedo the deal, fearing a right-wing backlash from voters who prefer a government led by conservative Netanyahu to a government backed and ultimately led by centrist Lapid. Channel 13 said MP Yamina Nir Orbach was also on the fence.
Netanyahu appeared to attempt to play on those fears earlier on Friday, posting a video in which he said Bennett had agreed to join a rotating government with him, but had given up on getting into what he described as a “government of left. “
Channel 12 did not give a source for its information. According to broadcaster Kan, Likud has argued that they believe a Lapid-Bennett deal is a done deal and will be announced on Saturday.
Yamina and Bennett did not respond to the report, which was released just as Shabbat was beginning in Israel, when many religious Jews refrain from using the technology. However, reports said he would make an announcement on Saturday night.
Lapid still needs other key pieces if he is to complete the coalition puzzle before time runs out on Wednesday, with the most likely outcome being a return to the polls for the fifth time in just over two years. , but Bennett’s support would give him his. – called the change bloc a major boost, with Yamina being considered one of the biggest resistance fighters.
Netanyahu has been in power since 2009, but has failed to garner enough support or partners to form a new government since the election was called in early 2019. Bennett, once a staunch supporter of Netanyahu, has moved away from the government. leader of Likud in recent years. as he tried to forge his own way as a right-wing leader
To be successful, the change bloc will at least require the passive support of the Islamist Ra’am party, which has not been committed to its plans since the March elections. Members of Yamina and New Hope, another key part of the fledgling coalition, objected to the possibility of being part of a coalition with Ra’am.
Channel 13 noted that even after a deal was announced, Bennett could still face the possibility of flaws within his party when voting in the Knesset to form the government. Yamina MP Amichai Chikli has already announced that he will not sit in a unity government with Meretz and Ra’am, leaving Bennett unmanageable, because without him the bloc would lose its majority.
Earlier on Friday, Netanyahu released a video statement attacking Bennett and allegedly made a sweeping offer to New Hope’s Gideon Saar, offering him to be prime minister in a rotating government, as he sought to stop Lapid’s march to replace him.
The video was released moments after word came that Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party and leader of the opposition, had signed a coalition deal with Labor, bringing it slightly closer to the majority.
Yesh Atid also signed deals with Meretz and Yisrael Beytenu that would make Meretz President Nitzan Horowitz the next Minister of Health and Yisrael Beytenu President Avigdor Liberman the next Minister of Finance. Lapid is also in talks with New Hope with an offer to make Saar the next proposed justice minister.
Haaretz reported that Yesh Atid also made deals with members of the change bloc that would give New Hope and Yamina’s right flank a veto over all government decisions related to judicial reform.
It would be a major victory for Bennett and Saar, whose parties have vowed to change the way judges are appointed and have also sought to bring additional Conservative judges to the bench. Earlier this week, Hebrew media reported Blue and White was calling for the same veto to prevent such reforms.