Israel: Is Benjamin Netanyahu on his way out?

Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid have until Wednesday evening to cobble together a coalition of 61 seats


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could well be on his way out if two opposition parties manage to form a coalition government and oust him from power. Naftali Bennett, a hardliner who heads the Yamina party announced his plans on Sunday to form a coalition government with another Opposition party, the Yesh Adit led by Yair Lapid.

At present Netanyahu’s Likud party is in power, but Bennett and Lapid have until Wednesday evening to get together 61 seats to stake claim to form a government in the 120-member house. It is learnt that Bennett and Lapid have agreed to take turns as Prime Minister with Bennet going first.

On Sunday, Bennett, a 49-year-old former tech entrepreneur and millionaire who is known for his extreme right-wing views announced, “I will work together with my friend Yair Lapid to form a unified government so that we can pull the country out of chaos.”

Bennett wants to bring about a change in leadership in Israel as he strongly disapproves of Netanyahu’s handling of the Gaza crisis among other policies. His inclinations first became apparent on May 23 when he made a lengthy social media post saying that while he had previously “refrained from speaking out against the government and sharing advice in the studios and on Facebook while the soldiers and police endangered their lives on the ground” he now feels compelled to share his views. “I do not remember such a period of weakness, lack of function and national embarrassment,” he said about the Gaza crisis.

Bennett is known for his liberal views on business and economy, but a very hardline stance on religion and especially his open dislike of Palestinians. He has previously called Palestinian children “terrorists” and has also supported gunning down of Palestinians should they try to cross over into Israeli territory from Gaza. He has remained unsympathetic to their plight despite the fact that many of the casualties during the recent Gaza conflict were women and children, something that sparked global outrage.

Benjamin Netanyahu who has now been prime minister for 12 years, responded to Bennett’s announcement saying, “There is not a single person in the country who would vote for Naftali Bennett if he knew what he was going to do. This is the scam of the century! Instead of forming a dangerous left-wing government, immediately after the end of Lapid’s mandate, it is possible to form a good right-wing government for Israel.”

All eyes are now on Wednesday evening.


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