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Netanyahu’s opponents Naftali Bennett, Yair Lapid close in

In the past 24 hours, Israel has inched closer to what could be the removal of its longest-serving prime minister.

Naftali Bennett of the right-wing Yamina party announced late Sunday his intention to team up with the centrist Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, to form what aims to be a unity coalition.

This would be a diverse collection of parties with little in common except the goal of unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been in power for more than 12 years. If successful, it would end the complex political deadlock that has seen Israel hold four elections in less than two years.

Leader of the Israeli Yemina party, Naftali Bennett, delivers a political statement at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, in Jerusalem, on May 30, 2021.


Lapid’s government-formation challenge is one that Netanyahu himself failed to achieve by a previous deadline in early May. The prime minister’s failure to build a governing coalition with enough support from multiple parties — at least 61 seats in the Israeli parliament, specifically — meant that President Reuven Rivlin handed another politician, Lapid, the mandate to have go, and with another 28-day deadline.

If Lapid fails, Israelis will likely have to end up going to the polls for the fifth time in two years.

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Netanyahu’s opponents Naftali Bennett, Yair Lapid close in

2021-05-31 08:41:24

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