July 28, 2021

In Israel, the prospect of a government without Netanyahu is clearing up

In Israel, the herald of the radical right Naftali Bennett announced, Sunday, May 30, his intention to join the camp of Yaïr Lapid, centrist at the head of the opposition. The latter is trying to rally a coalition to end the reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest in the history of the Hebrew state.

“I am announcing that I will do everything to form a unity government with my friend Yaïr Lapid”said Bennett, who for several weeks had cultivated a mystery about whether or not he wanted to join the Leader of the Opposition. “In these moments of truth, you have to know how to take responsibility”, he added during a televised speech. “Yaïr and I have our differences but we share the love of this country. “

“This government will be a danger to the security of the State of Israel. This is the scam of the century ”, reacted Mr. Netanyahu, also in a speech broadcast on television.

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“Replace Netanyahu’s regime”

To form a government, Mr. Lapid, at the head of the Yesh Atid party (“There is a future”), must gather the support of 61 deputies. With the support of the left, the center and two right-wing formations, he had gathered 51, until Mr. Bennett rallied. Mr. Lapid has only four deputies to rally to turn the page on the Netanyahu era. He is counting on the Israeli Arab parties, which have not yet taken a clear position.

After weeks marked by the eleven-day war between ruling Palestinian Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Jewish state, tensions in East Jerusalem and clashes in Judeo-Arab towns in Israel, Mr. Lapid revived Friday his offer for a “Government of national unity”, saying they want a coalition that says “We are here together, our struggle is common, this country is the responsibility of all of us”.

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Mr. Netanyahu had retaliated Sunday morning by calling Mr. Bennett and Gideon Saar, leader of a small right-wing party, to “Come, now, immediately” start discussions with a view to a government coalition, on the principle of a rotation at its head, starting with Mr. Saar, then MM. Netanyahu and Bennett. A former Likud man, Mr Saar wrote on Twitter that he was not interested and remained loyal to his project: “Replace the Netanyahu regime”.

Twenty-five years ago almost to the day, on May 29, 1996, Mr. Netanyahu defeated Labor Shimon Peres and became Prime Minister for three years. He returned to power in 2009 and has not left it since. Judged for « corruption » in three cases, he was the first head of government to face criminal charges while in office.

The Jewish state has held four parliamentary elections in less than two years. None of these polls was able to separate Mr. Netanyahu from his rivals, or result in a stable government.

The World with AFP