Netanyahu foes push for quick vote to end his 12-year rule

Jun 3, 2021, 4:06 AM | Updated: 4:18 am
Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett, left, smiles as he speaks to Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid...

Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett, left, smiles as he speaks to Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid during a special session of the Knesset, whereby Israeli lawmakers elect a new president, at the plenum in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)

(Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents on Thursday pushed for a quick parliament vote to formally end his lengthy rule, hoping to head off any last-minute attempts by the premier 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 parliament, or Knesset.

The coalition consists of eight parties from across the political spectrum with the shared goal of toppling Netanyahu after a record-setting 12 years in power. The alliance includes hardliners previously allied with Netanyahu, as well as center-left parties and even an Arab faction — a first in Israeli politics.

Netanyahu lashed out at his foes on Thursday, signaling that he will continue to exert pressure on former ideological allies who joined the Lapid-Bennett coalition. “All members of Knesset who were elected with right-wing votes need to oppose this dangerous leftist government,” he wrote on Twitter.

The anti-Netanyahu bloc announced the coalition deal just before a deadline at midnight Wednesday. The agreement triggered a complex process that is likely to stretch over the next week.

The coalition commands a razor-thin majority of 61 votes in parliament. Now the question is whether the group’s votes will hold together to name a new parliament speaker. The speaker would preside over a Knesset vote required to confirm the new government.

The current parliament speaker is a Netanyahu ally who could use his position to delay the vote and give Netanyahu more time to sabotage the coalition.

As the Lapid-Bennett coalition was coming together in recent days, Netanyahu and his supporters ramped up a pressure campaign against former hawkish allies, including Bennett and his No. 2 in the Yamina party, Ayelet Shaked.

Netanyahu accused them of betraying right-wing values. His supporters launched vicious social media campaigns and staged noisy protests outside Shaked’s home. The prime minister’s Likud party also advertised a demonstration Thursday night outside the home of Yamina lawmaker Nir Orbach, urging him to quit the coalition.

That’s a taste of the pressure to be expected for lawmakers on the right. And some on the left now have time to think about whether they will pay for this partnership in the next election.

“There will be a lot of pressure, especially on right-wingers, especially for religious right wingers,” said Gideon Rahat, a political science professor at Hebrew University. “They will go to the synagogue and people will pressure them. It will be a nightmare for some of them.”

Netanyahu and his supporters called a meeting later Thursday to discuss their next steps.

Under the coalition agreement, Lapid and Bennett will split the job of prime minister in a rotation. Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu, is to serve the first two years, while Lapid is to serve the final two years — though it is far from certain their fragile coalition will last that long.

The historic deal also includes a small Islamist party, the United Arab List, which would make it the first Arab party ever to be part of a governing coalition.

Netanyahu, desperate to remain in office while he fights corruption charges, is expected to do everything possible in the coming days to prevent the new coalition from taking power. If he fails, he will be pushed into the opposition.

The deal comes at a tumultuous time for Israel, which fought an 11-day war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip last month while also experiencing mob violence between Jews and Arabs in cities across the country. The country also is emerging from a coronavirus crisis that caused deep economic damage and exposed tensions between the secular majority and the ultra-Orthodox minority.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Israeli police officers stand guard as right wing protesters chant slogans and hold signs showing Naftali Bennett, and other members of the Yamina party, with Arab politicians Ahmad Tibi, right, and Mansour Abbas, left, during a demonstration in the central Israeli city of Ramat Gan, Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Hebrew sign reads, "Don't form a left government with supporters of terror." (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
            
              Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett, left, smiles as he speaks to Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid during a special session of the Knesset, whereby Israeli lawmakers elect a new president, at the plenum in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)

AP

FILE - A staff walking near a Nissan logo at Nissan headquarters is seen though a window on May 12,...
Associated Press

Automakers Renault, Nissan make cross-shareholdings equal

TOKYO (AP) — Nissan and Renault have changed their mutual cross-shareholdings equal at 15%, ironing out a source of conflict in the Japan-French auto alliance. Renault Group will transfer 28.4% of the Nissan shares it owns into a French trust, so its stake will be the same 15% that Nissan Motor Co. has in the […]
1 day ago
FILE - North Koreans visit and pay respect to the statues of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong ...
Associated Press

Russian embassy says North Korea lifted lockdown in capital

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Russia’s embassy in North Korea says the country has eased stringent epidemic controls in capital Pyongyang that were placed during the past five days to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses. North Korea has not officially acknowledged a lockdown in Pyongyang or a re-emergence of COVID-19 after leader Kim Jong […]
1 day ago
People walk past an electronic stock board at Taipei Exchange in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, Jan. 30, 2...
Associated Press

Asian shares mixed after last week’s gains on Wall Street

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were trading mixed in Asia on Monday after Wall Street benchmarks closed higher on Friday, capping a third week of gains out of the last four. Tokyo and Shanghai rose while Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney fell. Taiwan’s benchmark jumped 3.8%. Attention was turning to Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Reserve […]
1 day ago
A worker inspects solar panels at Premier Energies Solar on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India, Wedn...
Associated Press

Taxes slow India’s solar power rollout but boost manufacture

BENGALURU, India (AP) — In May last year Fortum India, a subsidiary of a Finnish solar developer, won the bid for a solar power project in the state of Gujarat. The project was due to be completed three months ago and would have generated enough electricity for 200,000 homes. But like many other solar power […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

3 kids taken in Nebraska carjacking found with frostbite

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Three young children were being treated for frostbite in Nebraska Sunday after police said two suspects stole an SUV while they were inside. Around 3 a.m. Sunday, when temperatures were around 0 degrees, a man reported that his 2012 Chevrolet Traverse had been stolen with his three children inside, said […]
1 day ago
FILE - Netherland's Prime Minister Mark Rutte, left, speaks with U.S. President Joe Biden during a ...
Associated Press

Source: Dutch, Japanese join US limits on chip tech to China

WASHINGTON (AP) — Japan and the Netherlands have agreed to a deal with the U.S. to restrict China’s access to materials used to make advanced computer chips, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press on Sunday. The person declined to be identified because the deal hasn’t yet been formally announced. It’s unclear […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Netanyahu foes push for quick vote to end his 12-year rule