Far-right politician Naftali Bennet and opposition leader Yair Lapid have reached a deal to form a coalition government that would end Benjamin Netanyahu’s run as the longest-serving Israeli prime minister.
Bennett announced in a televised address on May 31 that his small right-wing party Yamina would join Lapid’s centrist party Yesh Attid to forge a new government, ousting Netanyahu who has been in power for 12 years.
“Netanyahu is no longer trying to form a right-wing government because he knows full well that there isn’t one. He is seeking to take the whole national camp, and the whole country, with him on his personal last stand,” Bennett announced.
“It’s my intention to do my utmost in order to form a national unity government along with my friend Yair Lapid, so that, God willing, together we can save the country from a tailspin and return Israel to its course,” Bennett further said.
Bennett also dismissed suggestions that the coalition would be a left-wing government.
“This government will not do disengagement nor will it hand over territories, nor will it be afraid to launch a military operation if required,” Bennett said.
Minutes after Bennett’s address, Netanyahu responded with his own televised statement, claiming that Bennett was only interested in becoming prime minister.
Netanyahu criticized Bennett’s approach as “a danger for the security of Israel” and that Bennett has “committed the scam of the century.”
Under the coalition agreement, Bennett would serve as the prime minister for the first two years, then Lapid would replace him for the last two years, according to local media reports.
Lapid needs to sign formal coalition agreements with all parties in the next three days then inform President Reuven Rivlin and Parliament Speaker Yariv Levin for a vote.
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