Coalition to Unseat Netanyahu Suffers Set-back as other Parties Relent to Sign Deal
Efforts to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced more challenges on Thursday, as the eight parties forming the new government struggled to seal their coalition agreements.At press time, the only agreement signed was between Yesh Atid and Meretz. Seven more deals must be signed by Friday at 4 p.m. ahead of Sunday’s vote on the new government.
“This is a historic agreement with unprecedented clauses that advance Meretz’s agenda,” Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz said after the signing. “On Sunday, we will finally replace the government and get the country back on track for the good of all citizens.”Differences still remained among other coalition partners about authority over West Bank construction, and whether Defense Minister Benny Gantz could appoint a deputy minister from his Blue and White party.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu reacted to international criticism of his charge that the new government being formed by Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid was “the biggest election fraud in the history of the state and I think in the history of democracies.”His associates singled out a report on CNN comparing Netanyahu’s statements to those of his friend, former US President Donald Trump.
“When Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks about ‘election fraud,’ he isn’t referring to the vote-counting process in Israel in which he has complete confidence,” the Likud tweeted.
“There is also no question about the peaceful transition of power. There always has been a peaceful transfer of power in Israel and there always will be.”The Likud said that “contrary to the manner in which his statements have been distorted, Netanyahu is denouncing the fraudulent promises to voters made by Naftali Bennett, who is key to forming this government.
”Netanyahu’s party said that throughout the election, Bennett promised not to form a government with Lapid and the Left, and not to create a coalition with the Ra’am (United Arab List) Party.“He even signed a written commitment to voters to that effect live on television making these pronouncements,” the Likud tweeted.
“Right after the election, Bennett promptly violated each of these promises. He formed a coalition with the Left backed by the Ra’am party, and signed a rotation deal that will make Lapid the prime minister in two years. In doing so, Bennett hijacked votes from the Right and shifted them to the Left in direct contradiction of his pledges. If this isn’t fraud, we don’t know what is.”The Likud said that Bennett’s actions were akin to American electors unilaterally switching their vote for president against the will of the electorate.
“Bennett acted out of blind ambition to become prime minister with a miniscule 5% of the Knesset,” the Likud said. “He wouldn’t have even one seat if his electorate knew in advance what he would do with their votes.
The hodge-podge coalition that is emerging in Israel doesn’t reflect the will of the voters. All polls, including one published last night, consistently show most Israelis prefer Netanyahu as prime minister to any other candidate, and most Israelis also prefer a right-of-center government.”Shas leader Arye Deri said that it was a mistake to initiate the March election.
In an interview with Army Radio on Thursday morning, Deri said the outgoing government was “terrific and should have been retained.”