The ultranationalist Naftali Benet, whose Yamina party is key to tipping the balance of government formation in Israel, announced today its support to create an Executive with the opposition bloc led by the centrist Yair Lapid, paving the way for a coalition that will remove Benjamin Netanyahu.
“At this decisive moment, we must take responsibility. I intend to do everything in my power to form a government of national unity with my friend Yair Lapid, ”Benet announced in a public appearance.
After Israel went to four elections in just two years, in the midst of a long political blockade and with Prime Minister Netanyahu who has not managed to form an Executive with the right-wing blocThe only current scenarios are “a fifth election” or create “a unity Executive” to avoid it.
Benet refused again today to form a right-wing coalition led by Netanyahu, which has been in power in Israel for more than a decade and that he faces several cases for corruption.
“That attempt failed because we did not believe the promises they offered us,” Benet said of Netanyahu’s proposal to form a right-wing coalition.
According to local media today, Benet and Lapid would be negotiating an alternate Executive at the Head of Government. The former would serve as prime minister for the first two years and the centrist would replace him for the last two.
Given this, Netanyahu today condemned the decision of Benet, whom accused of “betraying” the majority of citizens who voted for right-wing parties and warned of the “danger” of a leftist Executive.
“Instead of creating a dangerous left-wing government”, when Lapid’s mandate to form a coalition ends this Wednesday, “we could form a right-wing Executive” with rotation at the head of government together with Benet himself and the right-wing Guidéon Saar, Netanyahu said, reiterating the same offer made this morning and which has already been rejected by the ultra-nationalist politician.
“This is very unconventional and quite twisted, but the possibility of a left government is even worse,” said Netanyahu, who insisted that a majority of Israelis voted for a right-wing government because it is “the best for security and safety. future of Israel ”.
Benet’s decision – with seven seats with his Yamina formation – comes three days after Lapid’s deadline to create a government expires. The latter’s party, Yesh Atid, was the second most voted (17 deputies) after Netanyahu’s Likud (30) in the general elections on March 23.
After the elections, Netanyahu was the first to be commissioned to form a coalition, but after failing and failing to secure a 61-seat majority in a 120-seat Parliament (Knesset), Israeli President Reuvén Rivlin handed the task over to Lapid el May 5th.
Since then, the centrist has sought to obtain sufficient support to establish an Executive that will unseat Netanyahu, in power for the last twelve years and prosecuted on corruption charges.
Lapid heads a broad bloc of parties of great ideological diversity – from the left to the extreme right – whose only unifying element is his firm opposition to the current prime minister of Israel.
However, so far it has not reached the 61 seats necessary to inform the president that he managed to agree on a coalition.
Benet’s support is a boost that would give him the support of some 58 seats – also depending on whether all Yamina deputies support a government with the anti-Netanyahu bloc – but Lapid would still need at least three seats to materialize a majority.
This support could be obtained with the direct or external support of the United List (six deputies) or of the Islamist Raam, both Arab parties. The latter, with four seats, is a key player who could tip the balance in favor of Lapid and Benet.