Israeli Opposition Parties Unify To Oust Netanyahu

The New York Times reports:

An ultra-nationalist power-broker, Naftali Bennett [photo], said on Sunday that his political party was ready to join several other opposition parties in a coalition, opening the door to forming Israel’s first government since 2009 without Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in the country’s history.

If the maneuvering, which followed two months of indecision by Mr. Bennett, leads to a formal coalition agreement, it would be an uneasy alliance between eight relatively small parties with a diffuse range of ideologies.

The prime minister’s post would rotate between two unlikely partners: Mr. Bennett, a former settler leader who rejects the concept of a sovereign Palestinian state and champions the religious right — and Yair Lapid, a former television host who is considered a voice of secular centrists.

The Times Of Israel reports:

Members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s right-wing religious bloc lash out at Yamina chief Naftali Bennett for declaring he is seeking to form a government with Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid and the “change bloc” of anti-Netanyahu parties.

“We said then and it’s been proved today: You vote for Bennett, you get Lapid. The public won’t forget,” MK Miki Zohar, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, writes on Twitter.

Far-right Religious Zionism leader tweets: “Bennett’s ability to lie in front of the cameras without blinking is just incredible… It was all coordinated and planned ahead of time… the greatest scam in the history of Israeli politics.”

Bennett, the son of American immigrants to Israel, is a multi-millionaire due to the software company he founded while living in Manhattan. After selling the company, he moved back to Israel and renounced his US citizenship in order to take his seat in the Knesset.