Israeli Opposition Form Coalition to Oust Benjamin Netanyahu

Published on 3 June 2021 at 12:32

On Wednesday, opposition parties in Israel from across the political division came together to form a Government. 


Sky News described Israel to be on the brink of a new political era after an awkward coalition of parties from across the political spectrum announced it had formed a Government. 


Taking negotiations up to the wire, opposition leader Yair Lapid informed the country’s president late on Wednesday that he had struck a power-sharing deal with a broad grouping of right, centre and left-wing parties. Isaac Herzog was elected as the 11th President of Israel, on Wednesday in a vote by members of the Knesset. 


Sky News elaborated further by saying that ‘the formation of a ‘change government’ should, in theory, bring to an end 12 years in power for prime minister Mr Netanyahu and two years of political stagnation with four inconclusive elections but there are still hurdles to jump. 


Mr. Lapid said: ‘I commit to you Mr President, that this Government will work to serve all the citizens of Israel including those who aren’t members of it, will respect those who oppose it, will do everything in its power to unite all parts of Israeli society’. 


He added: ‘The Government will do everything it can to unite every part of Israeli society’. Under the deal, Mr Lapid, a former journalist turned centrist politician, has agreed that the right-wing leader of the much smaller Yamina party, Naftali Bennett, will serve as PM for the first two years before handing the leadership to Mr Lapid. 


The coalition’s only real unity comes in wanting to remove Mr Netanyahu. Its fragility was proven in the final hours before a deal was reached. Members of Mr Bennett's Yamina party have been under huge pressure from their supporters not to join a government with the centre-left. 


The party's deputy, Ayelet Shaked, had her security increased in recent days because of death threats. Ms Shaked has been attempting to secure concessions from Mr Lapid including obtaining a seat on the committee which appoints judges. 


The Arab-Israeli Ra’am party made last minute demands on cancelling a law that makes it easier to conduct demolitions in Arab towns and villages in Israel, however the demands were rejected by the right-wing faction. 


Mr Netanyahu has been written off many times before only to find ways of holding on to power. Just two weeks ago, Mr Netanyahu was casting himself, again, as the defender of the nation as another cycle of violence with Palestinians in Gaza unfolded. 


Danny Danon was Mr Netanyahu's ambassador to the UN until last year. He said: ‘I will be cautious and I will not start to sum up his political career. We have seen in the past that he pulls magic out of his sleeve when people start to sum up his career. But anyone will agree with me that he is one of the greatest leaders in Israel's history’. 


He continued: ‘I think we have to be patient. We have to wait until the last minute, until the last vote will be counted in the parliament. Only then when the new government will be sworn, we can trust they can still speak about a new era in our politics’. 


Sky News explained further that ‘the vote of confidence in the new government may not take place until 15 June. That gives Mr Netanyahu and his allies a narrow window to try to lure members of the new coalition away, chipping away at the majority. 


While divisions may exist among the formation of this new coalition Government, it is likely that this Government will be given approval in a confidence vote as there is little political appetite for another election, which would be Israel’s fifth election in the last two years. However, the allies of Benjamin Netanyahu may unite to vote, no-confidence in the newly formed Government. 


If this happens, Israel will be plunged into further political chaos as it will be forced to hold yet another election. All four elections, to date, have not produced conclusive results. If this coalition is voted through, in a confidence motion, it will have significant challenges that it will face, especially coming through the political divisions that exist among the various different coalition parties. 


However, whilst Yair Lapid, who will become Primeminister of Israel in two years from now, has pledged to unite all people that live in Israel, including those who oppose it, is not likely to be a consolation to the people of Palestine, who have suffered enough, at the hands of successive Governments. Whether he and this Government can achieve a long-lasting peace in the country remains to be seen. 


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