ISRAEL’s Benjamin Netanyahu has been the prime minister of the country for over a decade.
In a March general election, Netanyahu fell short of a majority vote and was given until June 2, 2021, to form a government.
What happened to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?
The opposition parties have inched closer to forming a government, as the Centrist party leader Yair Lapid is reportedly close to reaching a coalition agreement with the ultra-nationalist leader Naftali Bennett.
If both can agree, Bennett would serve as prime minister for two years and Lapid would take over for the remaining two.
Bennett is the head of the Yamina party and holds six seats in the 120-member parliament.
According to a statement, Bennett met with the Yamina party and received their support for a coalition.
What did Benjamin Netanyahu say about Naftali Bennett?
In his own televised statement, Netanyahu accused Bennett of betraying the Israeli right wing.
He urged nationalist politicians who have joined the coalition talks not to establish what he called a leftist government.
“A government like this is a danger to the security of Israel, and is also a danger to the future of the state,” Netanyahu said.
Bennett, a former Netanyahu aide turned rival, said he was taking the dramatic step to prevent yet another election.
While sharing Netanyahu’s nationalist ideology, Bennett said there was no feasible way for the hard-line right wing to form a governing majority in parliament.
He said: “We will focus on what can be done, instead of fighting all day on what’s impossible.”
When was Benjamin Netanyahu elected prime minister?
Netanyahu started a career in politics joining the right wing Likud party in the 1980’s.
He gained notoriety during the 1991 Gulf War and became the leader of the party in 1993.
He was elected the Prime Minister of Israel in 1996.
His first tenure in office was dominated by US-brokered peace talks with Palestine, which was led by Yasser Arafat.
Netanyahu helped introduce free market economics to Israel while also easing the country’s strict foreign exchange protocols enabling Israelis to open foreign bank accounts and invest abroad.
After losing the 1999 election in the face of a marriage scandal and corruption accusations, he temporarily retired from politics.
Netanyahu returned to politics as the Likud Finance Minister before gaining back control of the party and serving as leader of the opposition from 2005.
He became Prime Minister of Israel once again in 2009.
What did Yair Lapid say about the coalition?
Lapid said he had informed President Reuven Rivlin of the agreement, according to a statement.
“I pledge that this government will work in the service of all Israeli citizens, those who voted for it and those who did not,” he said.
“It will respect its opponents and do everything in its power to unite and connect all parts of Israeli society.”
The shift in politics comes amid the tense aftermath of an 11-day war between Israel and Palestine.
Clashes in Jerusalem sparked a bombing blitz that killed more than 250 people.
A date for the new government to be sworn in is still to be determined if a deal is reached.
Bennett and Lapid have to secure the support of 61 members of the 120-seat Knesset, Israel’s parliament.