Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid called on Sunday for the forming of a unity government in an effort to break the ongoing political gridlock and avoid a fifth election in just two years.
"Israel cannot afford another election. It needs a government. Not a right- or left-wing government, but an Israeli unity government," he said in a press conference. The Israeli unity government will have three right-wing parties [Yamina, New Hope and Yisrael Beitenu], two center parties [Yesh Atid and Blue & White] and two left-wing parties [Labor and Meretz]. I have spoken to everyone and met with everyone more than once and I will continue to hold meetings. Everyone understands that it is time for a change."
Lapid also said that such a government would function "much better than the current one", notwithstanding the disparate worldviews of its elements, since all potential member parties are " Zionist and patriotic."
The opposition leader's remarks come as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to struggle to form a viable coalition government after receiving the mandate from President Reuven Rivlin earlier in the month.
Lapid said he "will be surprised" if the president would not hand him the task next in case Netanyahu fails.
He also said that leaving "the Kahanists" [followers of extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane, referring to the Religious Zionist party's Jewish Power faction] he does rule any potential government partners, including the ultra-Orthodox which were the target of recurring attacks in Yesh Atid's campaigns in recent years.
Lapid is reportedly in talks to persuade Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett to desert Netanyahu and join his bloc, aiming to oust Israel's longest-serving prime minister. Bennett demands to receive veto rights in case he joins Lapid's government in order to give it a more right-leaning inclination which does not bode down well for the bloc's center and right-wing parties.
According to reports, such a government will focus mainly on economic, social and health issues related to the coronavirus pandemic and will avoid passing reforms on other hot-potato issues.