Justin Bullock, FISM News
FISM News previously reported on the emergence of a new coalition government in Israel that would oust current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, from office. Leaders of the fledgling coalition government, Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, announced that they had formed a coalition government before the deadline of June 2, 2021 and are now ready for a vote to take place on June 13, 2021. Netanyahu reacted to the news by telling members of his political party that, “[w]e are witnessing the greatest election fraud in the history of the country, in my opinion in the history of any democracy.”
Bennett, a former aide to Netanyahu, is the current leader of the small conservative Yamina Party. Lapid on the other hand is a centrist politician and the leader of the large centrist Yesh Atid Party. Bennett and Lapid have entered into a hesitant agreement whereby the two would take turns as prime minister. In the agreement Bennet would initially take the reigns, followed by Lapid, with a regular rotation between the two continuing after that.
Netanyahu has aggressively come out against the new coalition government saying that his former aide, Bennett, is compromising with the far left political parties. In doing so Netanyahu claims that Bennett is both reneging on his campaign promises and presenting national security risks to Israel. Bennett has denied these accusations and says that he maintains a conservative political philosophy, and has urged Netanyahu to leave office peacefully. In a televised address Bennett said,
“Let go. Let the country move forward… Mr. Netanyahu, don’t leave scorched earth behind you. All of us, the entire nation, want to remember the good you did during your service.”
Following the election, Netanyahu had the opportunity to form a coalition government of his own, but he failed to do so by the March 23 deadline. This is the fourth time he has failed to secure a majority for his party over the last two years. Netanyahu is, however, Israel’s longest serving prime minister and has dominated Israeli politics for the past 12 years.
Whether or not Bennett and Lapid will be successful in the election on June 13, 2021 is still up in the air. If they fail to secure enough votes, then the government would default back into Netanyahu’s control. The fact that Israeli politicians were able to create a legitimate coalition in order to end Netanyahu’s regime, is a historic development. The alliance of Bennett and Lapid also signals a new impulse in Israel for parties from the right, left, and center to come together and compromise.
However, there is also a darker undercurrent Israel will have to be mindful of in regard to political upheaval. After an 11 day conflict with Hamas in May, the Shin Bet internal security agency of Israel made an extremely rare and ominous announcement that political violence could be on the horizon in Israel due to the historic political changes. Shin Bet said that dangerous political rhetoric, particularly online, is reaching an all time high and that it could lead to violence if not adequately addressed. Whoever is installed as Israel’s Prime Minister after the June 13 vote will have their work cut out for them in order to maintain domestic and international security and peace.