Israeli opposition parties have moved closer towards forming a government that would bring to an end Benjamin Netanyahu’s time as the country’s longest serving prime minister. Nethanyahu has been in power for 12 years.
Centrist party leader Yair Lapid is reportedly close to reaching a coalition agreement with the ultra-nationalist leader Naftali Bennett. Leaders from Mr Bennett’s party spoke in favour of the deal on Sunday. Mr Lapid, 57, has until Wednesday to form a new coalition government. “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,” said Bennett, a former settler leader and religious nationalist, in a televised address.
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Minutes after the speech ended, a stern-looking Netanyahu went on air to rail against Bennett. “He’s committed the scam of the century,” Netanyahu said of his former ally and senior aide, accusing him of abandoning rightwing voters. He called the proposed coalition government “a danger to Israel’s security and future”.
Opponents of Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges that he denies, have accused the 71-year-old of divisiveness and prioritising his hold on power above all else. Despite their vast differences, many have rallied behind the idea of what they call a ‘government of change’. “We need a government that will reflect the fact that we don’t hate one another. A government in which left, right and centre will work together to tackle the economic and security challenges we face,” Lapid said last week.
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ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WASHINGTON POST