Islam News – Israel is moving toward a government coalition deal that could sideline Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister.
An ultranationalist power-broker, Naftali Bennett, said on Sunday that his political party would work with seven others to build a coalition, a move that would supplant Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party. Netanyahu fired back, calling the proposed coalition “a government of capitulation.”
It would be an uneasy alliance. The emerging coalition would include both leftist and far-right members, and the prime minister’s post would rotate between Bennett, a champion of the religious right who rejects the concept of a sovereign Palestinian state, and Yair Lapid, a voice of secular centrists.
Their government would also rely on the support of a small Arab Islamist party, Raam, which has roots in the same religious stream as Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Raam is not likely to play a formal role in the coalition, but is expected to support the new government at the Knesset confidence vote.
Supporters hope the proposed coalition could break the deadlock that has stymied government action in Israel for more than two years. Leaders of the proposed coalition have indicated that they plan to first focus on infrastructure and economic policy instead of divisive issues such as those related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
No matter the outcome, Netanyahu has left a lasting legacy. He shifted Israeli politics firmly to the right and presided over the dismantling of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, while scoring groundbreaking diplomatic agreements with four Arab states. But by frequently attacking the judiciary and remaining in office while on trial for corruption, Netanyahu also stands accused of undermining central tenets of liberal democracy.
Source: The New York Times