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PoliticsMiddle East

Netanyahu attacks coalition hoping to oust him

June 3, 2021

Opposition leaders have pushed for a quick vote against Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli parliament as the prime minister tries to break up their uneasy alliance.

Benjamin Netanyahu
Netanyahu shared an old video of far-right leader Bennett criticizing his new alliesImage: Debbie Hill/Pool UPI/AP/dpa/picture alliance

Israel's ruling Likud party on Thursday called on "all legislators elected by votes from the right" to oppose the "dangerous left-wing government" that is expected to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The appeal comes a day after an unlikely coalition of eight parties struck a deal to displace the longtime leader.

What is the coalition against Netanyahu?

Under the deal, Netanyahu would be replaced by nationalist leader Naftali Bennett. He would then be expected to serve for two years before handing the post over to centrist Yair Lapid.

For the first time in Israeli history, the government would include an Arab party — the United Arab List (UAL).

Posting on Twitter on Thursday, Netanyahu shared an old video of Bennett criticizing UAL leader Mansour Abbas. In the clip, Bennett is shown saying that Abbas "visited terrorist murders in jail" following a 1992 attack on Israeli soldiers.

Netanyahu has also accused Bennett of the "betrayal of the century" for taking part in the opposition pact.

The anti-Netanyahu alliance can only muster 61 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, Israel's Parliament.

What is Netanyahu hoping to achieve?

Analysts believe that Netanyahu is targeting lawmakers from Bennett's Yamina party. If only one of them changed their minds, the anti-Netanyahu coalition would no longer command a majority in the parliament.

In turn, opposition leaders pushed to confirm Bennett as the new prime minister as early as Monday. The coalition hopes to minimize disruption from the pro-Netanyahu camp by quickly moving on with their plans.

Parliamentary speaker and Netanyahu loyalist Yariv Levin is likely to resist the push. This could buy the ruling Likud another 12 days to disrupt the anti-Netanyahu coalition.

If Netanyahu's efforts are successful, Israeli voters would likely need to vote in another election — their fifth in the past two years.

dj/rt (Reuters, dpa, AP)