Political opponents of Benjamin Netanyahu are hoping for a quick vote in the Knesset to approve a newly-announced coalition government and formally end his 12-year rule. That major political change would come after the prime minister, dogged by corruption charges, has failed to form a coalition after several weeks of trying.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, have announced a deal to form a new government and muster a majority in the 120-member Knesset. The coalition's makeup is problematic, consisting of eight parties from across the political spectrum, including right wingers previously allied with Netanyahu, center-left parties, and even an Arab faction.
"[Naftali Bennett's] views are to the right …. [But] the views of his coalition are not to the right; the views of his coalition are more to the left. So, he's going to have to do a balancing act walking a tightrope for his entire time as prime minister. It's not going to be easy."
"He's going to have pressure [from President Joe Biden for a two-state solution] – and he's also going to have the pressure from the majority of his coalition that is going to agree with Biden and is going to be pushing for a Palestinian terrorist state. So, Bennett is putting himself in a position where he's going to be hostage to not only a left-wing president who will be pressuring him all the time, but also a left-wing coalition in Israel."
Reacting to Israel’s newest political moves, Mike Pompeo told Fox News that creating unity with Arab parties and hard-right parties will be “really difficult” to pull off.
“And that's not good,” the former secretary of state advised. “It's not good for the U.S.-Israel relationship."
David Rubin, an Israel-based national security analyst, tells One News Now that Bennett leads the Yamina Party, which means “to the right” in Hebrew.
“And unfortunately he seems to be going to the left,” Rubin complains. “He is forming a coalition which will have a majority of its members from left-wing parties.”
What is uniting the Knesset members is their opposition to Netanyahu and their determination to end his political career, Rubin advises. That determination is demonstrated, he adds, by Bennett’s party holding only six of 120 seats yet he is on track to become prime minister for two years as part of the plan.
Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former military chaplain, has been observing Israel’s politics and says Bennett ran on a conservative platform that included supporting Netanyahu.
“Instead he did an about face,” he says of the Yamina leader, “and now he is basically giving control of the government to the liberals with the exchange that Bennett becomes prime minister."
“I hope that whatever government ultimately forms --- that's the Israeli’s business,” Pompeo told Fox News, “they'll continue to build out on what we did, which really created more peace, more prosperity, and indeed more stability in the Middle East."
In another AFR radio interview, Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries predicted the names being floated to replace Netanyahu will fall short because he is "irreplaceable" as leader.
"He is constantly looking out for Israel's welfare. He will never compromise," she said of the long-serving prime minister. "He will never cave to anybody, and he certainly won't cave to the Iranians."
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comments from Jan Markell.
6/7/2021 - Sidebar added.