Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has launched an attack on the newly agreed coalition coalition that appears to be on its way to removing it from power after 12 years as prime minister.
Netanyahu called on right-wing members of parliament to prevent the coalition from taking power.
Eight opposition parties had reached an agreement to work together to form a new government late on Wednesday night.
But this coalition, made up of all the political parties in Israel, still needs the support of Parliament in order to take power in the country.
In his first comment since the formation of the coalition was announced, Netanyahu urged members of the Knesset (parliament) who were “elected by right-wing votes” to oppose the coalition.
He criticized the parties affiliated with the coalition, in a tweet on Twitter, describing them as “left” and “dangerous.” He previously described the proposed new government as the “fraud of the century”, saying that it endangers the State of Israel and its people.
Observers indicated that Netanyahu – who failed to form a coalition of his own despite the fact that the Likud party won the largest number of seats in the elections held last March – will likely try to prevent the announced coalition from getting the support it wants.
Alan Johnson, Middle East editor for the BBC World Service, says Netanyahu will do everything in his power to thwart his rivals’ bid to form a government. He will seek to prevent the new coalition from obtaining the required confidence in parliament in order to take power.
The coalition, formed by Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid “There is a Future” party, needs a parliamentary vote before being sworn in. It is unclear how long this process will take.
There is still the possibility of rifts within the newly formed coalition, which could turn things upside down for him.
Lapid, whose party came second in the election, called Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to inform him of the agreement reached Wednesday night.
He pledged to form a government that “will serve all the citizens of Israel…respect its opponents and do everything in its power to unite and connect all parts of Israeli society.”
However, Lapid will not become prime minister immediately. Under a rotation agreement, the leader of the right-wing Yamina party, Naftali Bennett, will take over as prime minister first before handing the position to Lapid in August 2023.
The coalition members, who came from all walks of the Israeli political scene, have nothing in common except their plan to remove Netanyahu.
Mansour Abbas, head of the Arab List, announced his joining this government coalition, making his list the first Arab party to participate in the government in the history of Israel.
Abbas said that the decision was not easy, but it achieved some achievements and conditions for the Palestinian community within the Green Line, according to what he said.
The Israeli camp for change, which seeks to overthrow Netanyahu, is trying to hold a session in the Knesset to replace the speaker of parliament who is affiliated with the Likud.
The other five parties included in the agreement are:
Kahol Lavan – led by Benny Gantz (eight seats)
Yisrael Beitenu – led by Avigdor Lieberman (seven seats)
Action – led by Merav Michaeli (seven seats)
New Hope – Led by Gideon Sa’ar (six seats)
Meretz – led by Nitzan Horowitz (six seats)
If the coalition fails to win majority support in Israel’s 120-member Knesset, there is a possibility that elections will be held, the fifth in two years. The support of all Knesset members from the eight parties is needed in order to ensure that the coalition obtains the required majority of 61 seats.
The reaction to the agreement was mixed. According to Agence France-Presse, other parties representing Israel’s Arabs – who make up 20 percent of the population – have said they would oppose a government led by Bennett, who rejects the idea of a Palestinian state.
Meanwhile, right-wing politicians have expressed concerns about the deal. Miki Zohar, a prominent member of the Likud party, tweeted that “the left is celebrating but it is a very sad day for the State of Israel,” adding that the right-wing parties in the coalition “should be ashamed.”
But beyond that there were scenes of jubilation. Demonstrators who were calling for Netanyahu’s resignation danced in the streets.
Some were relieved by the opportunity to end the political turmoil that saw Israel hold four elections in just two years, as politicians struggled to find someone to unite behind.