May 31 (UPI) — Israeli opposition parties announced a plan Sunday to form a unity government to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu’s former defense minister and leader of the Yamina Party, announced during a televised address that he will form a government with the Yesh Atid Party and its leader Yair Lapid.
Bennett said the four inconclusive elections held in the last two years, which have allowed Netanyahu to remain in power, have led Israel to “tear itself apart” declaring that a fifth election to form a government with Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party at the helm is not sustainable.
“There are those who say that there’s a right-wing government around the corner and only we are preventing its establishment. That’s a complete lie,” he said. “There is no right-wing government … Four elections and two months have proved there is no right-wing government headed by Netanyahu … It’s either fifth elections or a unity government.”
Under the proposed deal, Bennett would take over as prime minister and would later be succeeded in the role by Lapid, The Washington Post reported.
In a speech immediately following Bennett’s announcement, Netanyahu accused him of looking to avoid a fifth election due to fears he may not reach the threshold to maintain his political power.
Netanyahu also again proposed a three-way agreement in which he, Bennett and Gideon Sa’ar, another former member of Netanyahu’s cabinet and leader of the New Hope Party, would rotate as prime minister.
“I call on the MKs who were elected with right-wing votes: stick with that path — don’t establish a left-wing government,” said Netanyahu. “That government is a danger to the security of Israel and a danger to the future of the state.”
Sa’ar, however, refused the proposal earlier in the day.
“Our position and commitment was and remains: to change the Netanyahu regime,” he said. “We will continue to act accordingly.”
Lapid is expected to inform Israeli President Reuven Rivlin of his ability to form a government with Bennett’s support, giving them a week to finalize coalition deals.
Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin would be able to block a vote of confidence in Israel’s parliament for up to a week, but a spokesman indicated he would not do so.