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© GRAPHIC NEWS

Graphic shows leaders and parties in proposed Israeli coalition.
GN41421EN

POLITICS

Israel’s unlikeliest-ever government

By Duncan Mil

June 3, 2021 - Israel’s latest political drama sees a diverse mix of eight opposition parties forming a coalition to oust veteran prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in power for the past 12 years.

Yair Lapid, the leader of the Israeli opposition, had until midnight on Wednesday (June 2) to stitch together the coalition. He needed every minute -- leaving it until 23:22 before informing Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s largely ceremonial president, that he had assembled an alliance. The proposed government will have 62 seats in the 120-seat Knesset (parliament).

The coalition agreement to form a government and oust Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, could ease a political impasse that has produced four elections in two years.

Combining political parties from the left to the far right, the alliance includes a small Islamist Arab party known by its Hebrew acronym R’aam or United Arab List. R’aam would become the first Arab group to join a right-leaning coalition in Israeli history.

The alliance would be led until 2023 by Naftali Bennett, a religiously observant former settler leader who opposes a Palestinian state and wants Israel to annex most of the occupied West Bank. The former ally of Netanyahu is seen by many as more right-wing than the prime minister.

If the government survives a four-year term, it would be led between 2023 and 2025 by Lapid.

The Knesset must ratify the fragile agreement in a confidence vote in the coming days.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 03/06/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Associated Press, Getty Images
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