מורן אזולאי
Moran Azulay
Photo: Gil Yohannan
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

With Netanyahu at dead end, anti-PM bloc moves ahead with coalition plan

Analysis: Most disagreements among anti-Netanyahu camp have apparently been resolved, though questions still remain over identity of new Knesset Speaker and allocation of top portfolios to left-wing parties Labor and Meretz

Moran Azulay |
Published: 04.26.21 , 15:52
With less than 10 days remaining for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a coalition, his Likud party is continuing to pressure Yamina leader Naftali Bennett not to sign a rotation deal with Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid that could potentially see another unity government be established in Israel.
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  • Despite Likud's pleas, however, progress on drafting a coalition deal between Yamina and the rest of the anti-Netanyahu bloc appears to move right along.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    בנימין נתניהו יאיר לפיד נפתלי בנט
    בנימין נתניהו יאיר לפיד נפתלי בנט
    Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Hadar Yoavian, Kobi Koankes)
    Many disagreements among members of the bloc have apparently been resolved, with the identity of a new potential Knesset Speaker remaining the only major point of contention.
    Yesh Atid is demanding that its MK Meir Cohen be chosen for the post, since he was supposed to take up the position under the party's deal with its former partner Blue & White. Benny Gantz's acceptance of the position in March 2020, following a controversial resignation of Likud's Yuli Edelstein, became one of the catalysts for the breakup of the Yesh Atid and Blue & White partnership.
    Gideon Saar's New Hope, meanwhile, is demanding that its MK and former Likud lawmaker Ze'ev Elkin take up the role.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    מאיר כהן בריאיון באולפן
    מאיר כהן בריאיון באולפן
    Yesh Atid MK Meir Cohen
    (Photo: Hadar Yoavian)
    There is also a dispute regarding the Aliyah and integration portfolio, with Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu demanding it, while Blue & White insists it must remain with MK Pnina Tamano-Shata.
    One of the biggest challenges for Lapid appears to be keeping his campaign promise of forming a small government, while allocating portfolios to the bloc's left-wing parties, Labor and Meretz, in order to appease them.
    In a potential rotation government - first headed by Bennett and then by Lapid - Labor head Merav Michaeli looks to be the candidate for the interior minister.
    However, Bennett and Saar are still fighting to keep that portfolio within the potential government's more right-wing elements, primarily with Yamina's #2 Ayelet Shaked.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    מרב מיכאלי בריאיון באולפן
    מרב מיכאלי בריאיון באולפן
    Labor head Merav Michaeli
    (Photo: Kobi Koankes)
    The anti-Netanyahu bloc is hoping to finalize the unity government outline in the coming days in order to table it before President Reuven Rivlin so Lapid is tasked with forming government next.
    In the meantime, Likud is increasing the pressure on Bennett to join Netanyahu's camp, with its Constitutional Committee on Sunday approving a plan for the prime minister to add his own external candidates to the party's slate in the next Knesset elections.
    While the proposal is still subject to the party's secretariat and its faction officials, it is meant to serve as an offer to the Yamina head that if he supports Netanyahu, his entry to Knesset is assured no matter what the results are in the next election, which would be the fifth in two years.
    Netanyahu is certain that such a move will make Bennett raise his demands from the anti-Netanyahu bloc and cause negotiations to fail.




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