The leader of the radical right, close to the settlers, Naftali Bennett announced Sunday, May 30, in the evening, that he was ready to form a unity government with the centrist Yaïr Lapid. A strong rally that could put an end to the Netanyahu era, even if nothing is over yet, according to the Israeli press.
“Israel has never been so close to replacing Netanyahu since 2009”, abstract Ha’Aretz. On Sunday evening, radical-right herald Naftali Bennett confirmed speculation in the Israeli press by announcing his support for opposition leader, centrist Yair Lapid, paving the way for the formation of a “Government of change”.
“Kingsmaker” in the last legislative elections, the leader of Yamina, close to the settlers and a former ally of Netanyahu, had so far had it both ways and left doubt on his intention or not to deliver the final blow to the leader of the Likud, in power in Israel for 15 years.
“It took him a long time to get there”, note Ha’Aretz. “Three weeks ago, when the rockets started flying from Gaza, it looked like there was no way that would happen”. It must be said that the last-minute rallying of Naftali Bennett to Yaïr Lapid was negotiated at a high price: as explained in Jerusalem Post, it is he who will occupy the post of Prime Minister first until September 2023, before giving way to his centrist ally, according to the principle of “Rotating cohabitation”.
“Nothing is over yet”
Yamina and Yesh Atid announced on Sunday that they would begin negotiations in the evening to formalize their agreement. But “Nothing is done yet”, note carefully Ha’Aretz. “The fledgling Bennett-Lapid coalition apparently has the support of 61 Knesset MPs out of 120 seats meaning that even a single defection could deprive it of a majority”, specify it Times of Israel. “In particular, it will need the Islamist Ra’am party, which has four members in the Knesset, but which has not yet made a public commitment to support the coalition”.
The block that Bennett and Lapid could lead is formed “Very diverse elements who have very varied ideologies and who share very little in common, apart from the desire to send Netanyahu back into the opposition”, note Yediot Aharonot.
Once signed, the coalition agreements must also still be presented to the Knesset: “The Likud will comb them through in order to challenge some of them before the High Court of Justice, if it finds the slightest reason”, precise Ha’Aretz. “Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin is also a Netanyahu loyalist”, recalls the daily. “We can expect him to try to drag things out for as long as he can legally, to give Netanyahu more time to put pressure on the still hesitant MPs”.