Center-Left “Change” bloc includes Arab-Islamist Ra’am party. To form a government, anti-Netanyahu bloc must hold together its supposed parliamentary majority until a formal Knessed vote in 11 days time.
A broad coalition of Israeli political parties have formed a coalition in a last-ditch effort to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A bloc comprising of right-wing, centrist and Arab-Islamic lawmakers have reached the necessary majority in the parliament, Israel’s main opposition leader Yair Lapid informed President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday.
The leaders of the two main opposition parties have agreed to “rotate” the premiership, with leader of the rightwing Yamina party, Naftali Bennett, first replace to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid going second.
“I have the honor to inform you that I have succeeded in forming a government. It will be an alternative government in accordance with [the Israeli constitution] and MP Naftali Bennett will be the first head of government,” the Israeli opposition leader said in a statement.
The Jerusalem Post reported the formation of the new coalition:
A new governing coalition has been formed and is prepared to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opposition leader Yair Lapid officially informed President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin late Wednesday night.
“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, and do everything in its power to unite all parts of Israeli society,” Lapid told Rivlin at 11:35 p.m.
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, Lapid and Ra’am (United Arab List) chairman Mansour Abbas signed an agreement at a meeting on Wednesday night at Ramat Gan’s Kfar Hamaccabiah Hotel, in the first coalition deal ever signed by an Arab party.
To form a government, the anti-Netanyahu bloc will have to prove the majority of 61 in a 120-seat parliament. The vote on the floor of the Knesset is expected in 11 days, giving Prime Minister Netanyahu a last opportunity to find a majority of his own.
Palestinians and Leftists Rejoice
The Palestinian leadership is apparently delighted at the prospect of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 12-year reign come to an end. “Palestinians happy to see Netanyahu go,” the Times of Israel reported Tuesday, citing Palestinian leaders.
They were not alone in their rejoicing. Many in the American leftist circles also took to social media to echo that sentiment. “Netanyahu, the master of creating divisions, finally managed to unite” the opposition, former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes tweeted.
A ‘Dis-United’ Front?
Given the opposition bloc’s disunity and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s political survival skills, it is premature for anyone to rejoice at his supposed ouster.
According to initial reports, the coalition appears to be having some teething troubles. “Document shows the 3 missing signatures separating between Lapid and government,” The Times of Israel reported last night:
[Israeli TV network] Channel 12’s political commentator Amit Segal shares a photo of the document that would announce to the president that a government has been formed.
Three signatures of party leaders currently separate between Yair Lapid and success in doing so: those of Naftali Bennett of Yamina, Gideon Sa’ar of New Hope and Mansour Abbas of Ra’am.
The leaders of center-right bloc are expected to have a tough time keeping a coalition together which comprises of such divergent views and political interests.
The most worrisome factor is the inclusion of the Arab-Islamist Ra’am party and its leader Mansour Abbas in the propose government. “Abbas hails from the Islamic Movement, which was established in 1971 along the lines of the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood group. Its primary aim is the Islamization of Arab society,” the ABC News noted in March. Gaza-based Hamas and Al Qaeda terrorist groups are also offshoots of the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood movement.DONATE
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