Two Israeli politicians announced an agreement that would allow them to create a unity government and remove long-time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid party and Naftali Bennett of the right-wing Yamina party announced the agreement on Sunday. Both men were previously members of Netanyahu’s cabinet. Lapid served as Finance Minister from 2013-2014. Bennett held five different cabinet positions from 2013-2020.
BREAKING: Naftali Bennett will give a statement at 8PM local time and announce his intention to form a” change government” with opposition leader Yair Lapid to oust Netanyahu
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) May 30, 2021
Israel has held four elections in the last two years. In the most recent election, conducted on March 23, Yesh Atid won 17 seats, and Yamina won seven. Netanyahu’s Likud party won 30 seats in the 120 seat Knesset, but failed to form a governing coalition.
“We could go to fifth elections, sixth elections, until our home falls upon us, or we could stop the madness and take responsibility,” Bennett said, according to the Washington Post. “Today, I would like to announce that I intend to join my friend Yair Lapid in forming a unity government.” (RELATED: Netanyahu’s Tenure As Israeli PM Could End If Opposition Leader Forms Government)
Bennett is expected to begin the unity government as prime minister, and will be followed by Lapid, the Post reported.
Netanyahu slammed the proposal in a speech on Sunday night.
“What will this do to Israeli deterrence? How will we look in the eyes of our enemies? What will they do in Iran or Gaza? What will they say in the corridors of the administration in Washington? This government will stand against Iran? This government supports the dangerous nuclear deal,” he said, according to a translation in the Jerusalem Post.
“No one would have voted for you if they knew what you would do,” Netanyahu added, in a direct response to Bennett’s agreement.
Netanyahu has served as Israeli prime minister since 2009, and previously served from 1996-1999. He is currently on trial for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. Prosecutors charged Netanyahu in 2019 following multiple investigations into his alleged dealings with the telecommunications company Bezeq.