Israel’s opposition leader on Wednesday came closer to ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and forming a new government after agreeing with several parties, including one led by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, according to a spokesman.
During a twelve-year term in the top office, Netanyahu was an often polarizing figure at home and abroad. An end to his term of office may bring postponement of domestic political unrest, but major shifts in Israel’s foreign policy seem less likely from the trusted American ally.
Yair Lapid, a centrist, tasked with creating the next ruling alliance after conservative Netanyahu failed to do so after a by-election on March 23, has until midnight Wednesday (2100 GMT) to present a final lead .
Lapid, a 57-year-old former TV host and writer, has not yet reached an agreement with his main partner, nationalist Naftali Bennett, who would first serve as prime minister under a suggested rotation between the two men.
Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Gantz’s centrist Blue and White stated in a joint declaration that they “agree on the outlines of the government and core issues regarding the strengthening of democracy and Israeli society”.
Gantz would stay the defence minister in the new cabinet, the parties announced.
Netanyahu, 71, sought to discredit Bennett and two other right-wingers who negotiated with Lapid, saying they endangered Israel’s security – an allusion to efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program and the still hampered Palestinian ties. management.
Israel’s longest-serving leader, who was first named prime minister a quarter of a century ago, keeps the door open for them and says he is still capable of forming the next government.
Agreements have also been reached with the left-wing Meretz and center-left Labor parties, as well as with former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, a Lapid spokesman stated.
The United Arab List also negotiated to join the coalition. If that happens, it would be the first time in Israel’s history that an independent Arab party becomes a member of the government.
A source involved in the talks led by Lapid said the proposed new government would try to maintain consensus by avoiding ideological issues with the buttons, such as the occupied West Bank area that Palestinians want for a state. annex or relinquish.