Netanyahu Opponents Seek Quick End to Israeli PM's Time in Office


Opponents of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked Thursday to arrange a quick parliamentary vote to end his 12-year term in office.

Netanyahu’s opponents hope an expedited vote would complicate his last-minute effort to disrupt their new coalition.

The political maneuvering began after an ideologically broad group of Israeli political parties struck a fragile deal late Wednesday that could unseat the longtime prime minister.

As his opponents were working to form the coalition in recent days, Netanyahu and his allies intensified a pressure campaign against former supporters that include Yamina party head Naftali Bennett and deputy leader Ayelet Shaked.

Netanyahu is facing multiple corruption charges and is expected to do everything possible to remain in office.

Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid said late Wednesday, less than an hour before a midnight deadline, that he had secured the support of the majority of the Knesset.

“I promise that this government will work in the service of all of the citizens of Israel, those who voted for it and those who did not,” Lapid posted on Facebook.

Bennett, who leads the hardline nationalist Yamina party, announced his support for Lapid’s coalition on Sunday.

The agreement between the two would see Bennett serve the first two years as prime minister before Lapid rotates into the role.

President Reuven Rivlin gave Lapid the opportunity to bring together a coalition of parties that could amass a majority in the 120-seat Knesset after Netanyahu failed to do so in early May.

“Congratulations to you @yairlapid and to the heads of the parties on your agreement to form a government,” Rivlin tweeted. “We expect the Knesset will convene as soon as possible to ratify the government, as required.”

Source: Voice of America