After 12 years at the helm of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be in his last days in power. After weeks of negotiations, the opposition announced on Sunday (30) that it had reached an agreement to form a government and appoint a new prime minister for the country.
The new coalition is quite heterogeneous, made up of right-wing, center-left and left-wing forces that have little in common except revulsion against Netanyahu – the longest-serving prime minister in history. Israel and currently accused of corruption, bribery and research fraud.
Confirmation of the opposition’s deal came after far-right Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett announced in a televised speech that he would be part of the new government. Thus, the bloc would have enough support to be approved in Parliament, thus ending the political crisis that has lasted for two years.
“We can go to a fifth election, a sixth election, until the house collapses on our heads, or we can stop this madness and take our responsibility,” said Bennett, a longtime ally and protégé. by Netanyahu. The decision allows opposition leader Yair Lapid to assemble a coalition of seven acronyms to rule: Yamina, Israel Our House, New Hope (all three from right), Yash Atid, Azul and Branco (both center ), Labor and Meretz (double left).
“The time has come for a new government. It is a historic opportunity to break down the barriers that divide Israeli society, to unite religious and secular, left, right and center, ”Lapid said a few days ago, while leading the negotiations.
In total, the bloc will have 57 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. To win a majority and define the new prime minister, the coalition will rely on 4 votes from the conservative Islamic acronym Ra’am – which has indicated that it will support the initiative, but not formally part of the government.
Lapid, leader of Yash Atid (there is a future), has until Wednesday (2) to present the new government to President Reuven Rivlin, but he is expected to do so on Monday (31). In the process, the coalition needs the support of the majority in parliament – only when that happens will Netanyahu step down.
Although Lapid and Bennett claim to have sufficient support from MPs, there is little room for maneuver, and a turnaround possible. According to Israeli media, Netanyahu tried to convince some opposition lawmakers individually to vote against the deal, which would make it unworkable.
The centrist was tasked with getting the deal done by a new government after Netanyahu’s unsuccessful attempt to establish a majority in parliament. This happened after the March elections, the fourth in two years, which again ended with an inconclusive result.
In the vote, the right-wing Likud party, under the current prime minister, led with 30 seats, followed by Yash Atid, with 17 – neither bloc won a clear majority in the election. Therefore, the parties have started the ongoing negotiations. Talks, however, had to halt for nearly two weeks due to clashes between the radical Hamas group, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli military.
The war, the biggest conflict between the two sides in recent years, ended in a ceasefire after 11 days and more than 240 dead, the vast majority Palestinians. Thus, the idea of a government of national unity is coming back with force in the public debate. According to the arrangement, who is expected to replace Netanyahu as prime minister is Bennett himself, a 49-year-old tech millionaire and the son of American immigrants.
Although his party, Yamina, has only six MPs, Lapid offered Bennett the top post in order to draw him into the new coalition. In 18 months, however, they are expected to change roles, with Lapid becoming prime minister and Bennett taking over the finance ministry.
As the various members of the new coalition have little in common other than a plan to end Netanyahu’s tenure, the alliance will be fragile and will require the support of Arab MPs Raam, who oppose much of the government. Bennett’s agenda. The right wants to build more settlements in the West Bank, for example, which the Arabs and part of the left vehemently oppose.
In return for support, the Islamic acronym must ask the new prime minister to guarantee the right of Muslims to access the Mosque Esplanade in East Jerusalem, a theme that has sparked recent conflicts. Overall, however, the new coalition is expected to focus on post-pandemic economic recovery and other consensus issues, setting aside issues members disagree on, such as the role of religion in society and Palestinian aspirations for a full state in the region.
After Sunday’s announcement, the Palestine Liberation Organization said the new administration is no different from Netanyahu’s governments. The current prime minister said the coalition proposed by the opposition would weaken the country and the formation of a right-wing government is still possible.
“What [o novo governo] will you do for the protection of Israel? How are we going to look our enemies in the eye? What will they do with Iran and Gaza? What will they say in the halls of government in Washington? ”The Prime Minister said in a speech to parliament.
Israel has held four elections since April 2019 without reaching a clear winner, leaving the veteran ruling leader to head an interim government. More than choosing parliamentarians, these elections functioned as a sort of personal referendum for Netanyahu, one of the most controversial figures in Israel’s history. Its legacy includes direct involvement in the advance purchase of Covid-19 vaccines, which has enabled the country to fully immunize – with two doses – nearly 60% of its population and return to practically normal life.
Netanyahu also boasts as a trump card Abraham’s signing of the diplomatic normalization accords with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, in effect an anti-Iran alliance that was publicized by former US leader Donald Trump. . On the other hand, he is also accused of diminishing the rights of the Arab minority in Israel and of a series of human rights violations against Palestinians.
Who is probably the next prime minister of Israel
Bennett, possibly Israel’s next prime minister, is a tech millionaire who dreams of annexing most of the occupied West Bank. I have already said, for example, that the creation of a Palestinian state would be suicide for Israel. The son of American immigrants, Bennett, 49, is a younger generation than Netanyahu, 71.
He had a long and often difficult relationship with the current prime minister, working between 2006 and 2008 as a senior adviser to the then opposition leader before leaving on bad terms.
Bennett returned to national politics in 2013, renewing a pro-colonial party in the West Bank and serving as Minister of Defense, Education and Economy in various Netanyahu governments.
A former leader of Yesha, the main settler movement in the West Bank, he made the annexation of parts of the land that Israel conquered in the 1967 war an important part of his political agenda.
But as the head of a so-called government of change, which will include left and center parties, although with the support of Arab lawmakers in parliament, to proceed with annexation would be politically unworkable. Bennett said on Sunday that the right and left should compromise on such ideological issues.
Born in the immigrant Israeli city of Haifa of San Francisco, Bennett is a modern religious Orthodox Jew. He lives with his wife, Gilat, a dessert chef, and their four children in a suburb of Tel Aviv. Like Netanyahu, he is fluent in English with an American accent and spent part of his childhood in the United States, where his parents went on sabbatical.
While working in the high-tech industry, Bennett studied law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1999, he created a startup and then moved to New York City, selling anti-fraud software company Cyota to US security firm RSA for $ 145 million in 2005.
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