Parties Strike Deal to Oust Netanyahu

Naftali Bennett would lead power-sharing government
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2021 1:00 PM CDT
Israeli Coalition Agrees to Oust Netanyahu
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week in Jerusalem.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

Opposition parties in Israel announced Sunday that they have assembled enough support to form a unity government and replace longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The negotiations have gone on for weeks, the Washington Post reports. Netanyahu has failed to decisively win four elections in the past two years. "We could go to fifth elections, sixth elections, until our home falls upon us, or we could stop the madness and take responsibility," Naftali Bennett, a defense minister under Netanyahu who would lead the government, said in a televised statement Sunday. "Today, I would like to announce that I intend to join my friend Yair Lapid in forming a unity government." Lapid is a centrist who has led the power-sharing negotiations.

Bennett and Lapid have until Wednesday to wrap up their deal, which would give each two years as prime minister, per the AP. The change coalition includes parties with a range of political views, but all agree on replacing Netanyahu, who's been trying to head off his removal—especially while he's on trial on corruption charges. He made counteroffers, including a three-way rotation of the job, but was rejected. Criticism of the prime minister has included his handling of the fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, now paused by a cease-fire. "With the best intelligence and air force in the world, Netanyahu managed to extract from Hamas an 'unconditional cease-fire,'" said Gideon Saar, like Bennett a former Netanyahu ally now signed on to the change coalition. "Embarrassing." (Read more Benjamin Netanyahu stories.)

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