לימור לבנת
Limor Livnat
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Yamina head Naftali Bennett

Dawn of a new and better era for Israel

Opinion: Whatever Netanyahu may claim to the contrary, a Lapid-Bennett government will not be a left-wing one; it will not be centrist or right-wing one either, but rather a coalition of unity and healing for a country desperately in need of it

Limor Livnat |
Published: 05.07.21 , 23:42
On Wednesday, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid began his task of forming a unity government of change, a coalition whose role will be to heal Israeli society after enduring hate and divisiveness for so long.
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  • For the past six years, and especially since 2019, our country has been forced to go through four indecisive elections, with anyone even daring to voice a modicum of criticism against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being branded a "leftist" at best and a "traitor" at worst.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Yamina head Naftali Bennett
    Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Yamina head Naftali Bennett
    Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Yamina head Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: EPA)
    It is time for a unified and calming leadership, focused on what really matters – the wellbeing of Israel's citizens.
    This change/unity/emergency government is not a left-wing one, as Netanyahu likes to portray it again and again.
    Granted, neither is it a right-wing government, but the prime minister himself sabotaged such a coalition out of a desire for personal revenge and petty vindictiveness against those who would join it.
    Labor and Meretz, the opposing bloc's left-leaning elements, total 13 seats. Its centrist members – Yesh Atid and Blue & White – make up for 25 seats, while the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu, Yamina and New Hope account for 20.
    From now on, let us call this coalition by its real name – a coalition of unity. It is not the first in Israel history, but the need for such an arrangement has never been greater.
    The Netanyahu bloc's projected 58 seats could have been sworn in as a minority government. Regardless of what the skeptics may say, this was his plan the whole time.
    But unfortunately for him, his far-right Religious Zionist partners torpedoed his efforts to give the Islamist Ra'am party kosher certification.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    Netanyahu
    Netanyahu
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Reuters)
    But let us not write Netanyahu off just yet, for he will do everything he can to cripple Lapid's efforts.
    It is really a shame that Naftali Bennett thought he could have his cake and eat it when he tried to walk the tight rope between Netanyahu and the so-called "change bloc."
    While trying to keep his right-wing voter base and gain the most he could from both sides, he ran the risk of taking himself and his fellow party members down.
    This became abundantly clear to Bennett when reports started flowing of Netanyahu's efforts to get Yamina lawmakers to go rogue and join him.
    If Bennett does not take a proactive stance to fend off any Netanyahu trickery, the former defense minister will find himself without the proposed first go at the premiership, reportedly part of his agreement with Lapid.
    I hope that Yamina does not fall for Netanyahu's lies. I truly believe this the end of an era - and the start of a new and better one for Israel.

    Limor Livnat is a former Likud cabinet minister and member of Knesset
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