Israel’s opposition leader Yair Lapid has officially informed the country’s president that he has reached a coalition to form a new government.
The centrist Yair Lapid told President Reuven Rivlin through an email, “I am honoured to inform you that I have succeeded in forming a government.”
Yair Lapid’s main partner will be nationalist Naftali Bennett. It will be Bennett who would serve as a prime minister first under a rotation between the two men.
The 57-year-old Lapid is a former TV host and finance minister. He would take over after about two years.
Their coalition government would have an inclusion of small and medium parties from across the political spectrum. Surprisingly, a party that represents Israel’s 21 per cent Arab minority – the United Arab List is also there in it. Though this is for the first time in Israel’s history.
A Look at Israel’s new govt coalition
It would also include Bennett’s Yamina (rightward), centre-left Blue and White. It will be headed by Defence Minister Benny Gantz, the left-wing Meretz and Labour parties, former defence minister Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.
New Hope, a right-wing party headed by former education minister Gideon Saar, broke away from Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.
Benjamin Netanyahu is yet to respond to Lapid’s announcement. He controls 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset. This is almost twice as many as Lapid’s Yesh Atid party. He is an ally with at least three other religious and nationalist parties.
On the other hand Netanyahu is now seeking to discredit the Bennett-Lapid alliance, He says that it would endanger Israel’s security.
But for the new government, it is not going to be easy either. As it still faces considerable diplomatic, security and economic challenges. These range from Iran, peace process with the Palestinians, a war crimes probe by the ICC and economic recovery.