Israeli opposition agrees to form coalition govt.

Israeli opposition agrees to form coalition govt.

Israeli opposition agrees to form coalition govt.

Israel's opposition leader moved closer to unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday and forming a new government after agreeing terms with several parties including one led by Defence Minister Benny Gantz, a spokesman said.

If the coalition is approved by a vote in Israel's parliament next week, Mr Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years before handing the reins to Mr Lapid. "This government will work for all the citizens of Israel, those that voted for it and those that didn't. It will respect its opponents and do everything in its power to unite and connect all parts of Israeli society".

Lapid, a 57-year-old former TV host and author, has yet to clinch a deal with his main partner, nationalist Naftali Bennett, who would serve as premier first under a proposed rotation between the two men. The new coalition is an awkward alliance between eight political parties from a diverse array of ideologies, from the left to the far right, including an Arab bloc for the first time.

Any delay to the Knesset vote would grant Mr Netanyahu and his allies more time to try and break up the coalition's wafer-thin majority by persuading its members to switch sides.

Benjamin Netanyahu is facing the prospect of an end to his 12-year run as Israel premier.

Netanyahu has been in office since 2009. If he fails, he will be pushed into the opposition.

Analysts say Netanyahu, who is on trial on corruption charges, is unlikely to give up without a fight and will be looking to win over potential defectors ahead of the confidence vote.

Lapid called on Levin to convene the Knesset for the vote as soon as possible.

Netanyahu had hoped to extend his long rule and battle the corruption charges from the prime minister's office.

Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel's longest-running prime minister, with 12 consecutive years in the position.

"Four elections. have already proven to all of us that there is simply no right-wing government headed by Netanyahu". And each ended in deadlock, with both Netanyahu's supporters as well as his secular, Arab and dovish opponents falling short of a majority.

"I don't trust the Israeli government - whether right-wing or left-wing", she said.

The new deal required a reshuffling of the Israeli political constellation.

In a sign of progress, Lapid announced a coalition deal with the United Arab List, a small Islamist party whose support is key to securing a coalition.

"Lapid has made a very strong set of decisions, conveyed an unbelievable level of maturity and really made a big statement about a different kind of leadership", said Dahlia Scheindlin, an Israeli political analyst and pollster at the Century Foundation, a New York-based research group. Yesh Atid has been in the opposition since 2015 elections.

The centerpiece of the prime minister's strategy will be to weaponize the loyalties of religious hard-liners who backed Bennett and similarly minded candidates at the ballot box without expecting them to ally with the likes of Lapid.

Negotiations were held up as Bennett's party, Yamina, haggled over control of a panel that appoints judges.

Bennett once led a West Bank settler organization and has previously said he did not believe in a two-state solution that would establish a state for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. During the recent election campaign, Bennett had publicly vowed never to share power with Lapid or an Arab party. Thirteen parties of various sizes are in the current parliament.

Should last-minute defections scupper the coalition deal, Israel would likely be forced to go to the polls once again.

The announcement capped four frenzied weeks of negotiations since President Reuven Rivlin tasked Mr Lapid with trying to form a government after Mr Netanyahu failed. The fighting, along with the eruption of Arab-Jewish mob violence in Israeli cities during the war, put the coalition talks on hold.

However, any flareup along the Israel-Gaza border, after 11 days of fighting that ended with a ceasefire almost two weeks ago, could text the coalition's cohesion.

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