The fragile coalition still faces a tough road ahead — it failed to unseat the parliament speaker, a Netanyahu ally, on Thursday, and it remained unclear how events would play out over the next few days.
By Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents pushed Thursday for a quick parliament vote to formally end his lengthy rule, hoping to head off any last-minute attempts to derail their newly announced coalition government.
The latest political maneuvering began just hours after opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, declared they had reached a deal to form a new government and muster a majority in the 120-member Knesset, or parliament.
The coalition consists of eight parties from across the political spectrum with little in common except the shared goal of toppling Netanyahu after his record-setting 12 years in power. The alliance includes right-wingers previously allied with Netanyahu, as well as center-left and leftist parties and even an Arab faction — a first in Israeli politics.
But the fragile coalition still faces a tough road ahead — it was not able to unseat the parliament speaker, a Netanyahu ally, on Thursday, and it remained unclear how events would play out over the next few days.
Netanyahu lashed out at his foes on Thursday, signaling that he will continue to exert pressure on former allies who joined the coalition. “All members of Knesset who were elected with right-wing votes need to oppose this dangerous leftist government,” he wrote on Twitter.
Bennett, who is slated to become prime minister, has come under heavy pressure from Israelis on the Right who accuse him of betrayal.
In a televised interview, Bennett said he would never agree to freeze construction in Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. “There will be no freezes,” he said, acknowledging the international community will push for one. “Look, there will be pressures. We will have to manage,” he told Channel 12 TV.
“My attitude on this topic is to minimize the conflict. We will not solve it,” he said, adding that it was more realistic to improve business ties and the quality of life for Palestinians.