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Israel Coalition Reaches Deal to Oust Netanyahu

Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennet would take turns as PM
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 2, 2021 5:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents on Wednesday announced they have reached a deal to form a new governing coalition, paving the way for the ouster of the longtime Israeli leader. The dramatic announcement by opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, came shortly before a midnight deadline and prevented the country from plunging into what would have been its fifth consecutive election in just over two years, the AP reports. "This government will work for all the citizens of Israel, those that voted for it and those that didn't. It will do everything to unite Israeli society," Lapid said. Under the agreement, Lapid and Bennett will split the job of prime minister in a rotation. Bennett will serve the first two years, while Lapid is to serve the final two years.

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The historic deal also includes a small Islamist party, the United Arab List, which would make it the first Arab party ever to be part of a governing coalition. The agreement still needs to be approved by the Knesset, or parliament, in a vote that is expected to take place early next week. If it goes through, Lapid and a diverse array of partners that span the Israeli political spectrum will end the record-setting 12-year rule of Netanyahu. Netanyahu, desperate to remain in office while he fights corruption charges, is expected to do everything possible in the coming days to prevent the new coalition from taking power. If he fails, he will be pushed into the opposition. Netanyahu has attempted to put pressure on hard-liners in the emerging coalition to defect and join his religious and nationalist allies.

(Read more Israel stories.)

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