Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might soon be unseated as a disparate group of political parties race to form a coalition before 9 pm GMT Wednesday.
Among the two important parties in the new coalition are the Yamina party, led by Naftali Bennet, and Yesh Atid party led by Yair Lapid. According to reports, if the coalition manages to secure enough seats to form the government, the two leaders of the party will prime ministers on rotation.
If the deal is made and the government of the ultra-Right wing, Left-wing and Centrist party ratified, Naftali Bennet will immediately succeed Benjamin Netanyahu as the PM of Israel. The only remaining negotiations between the coalition parties are regarding the judicial appointments. Other leaders in the new coalition include defence minister Benny Gantz.
Naftali Bennet’s leverage in arranging such a deal for himself even as Yair Lapid was the candidate chosen to form the new government comes from his party’s win in seven seats in the Israeli parliament. While seven seats are far behind what Netanyahu’s and Lapid’s party secured, those seven seats are crucial for any coalition to be able to form a government in the increasingly fractured Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
Bennet, a millionaire, once called himself “more Right wing than Bibi (Netanyahu).” His Yamina, meaning ‘rightward,’ espouses the same kind of ultra-nationalist viewpoints as Netanyahu. Bennet has previously expressed support for the annexation of West Bank, and more control of Temple Mount, and is diametrically opposed to the creation of the Palestinian state. However, Bennet takes an ultra-liberal view on the economy.Bennet joined politics after he sold his tech start-up for $145 million. He became the chief of staff for Netanyahu before leaving to become the head of the Yesha Council, which lobbies for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and then taking charge of the far-right Jewish Home party. As the leader of the party, he was in a coalition with Netanyahu’s government and held the portfolios of defence, education and economy.
The fiery politician will be responsible for leading Israel as it comes out of a one-sided conflict against the Hamas, which saw a major shift in global opinions towards the Israel-Palestine conflict. Whether he will be able to keep all the necessary allies in coalition on board while still keeping the support of his right-wing voter base is yet to be seen.
As Matthew Bryza, a former American Ambassador to Azerbaijan said, "...if they form a government, the government has to range all across the political spectrum from Bennet on the far-right to socialists on the far-left and everything in between, including an Arab-Israeli party that might formally not join the coalition but would pledge its support, to therefore allow the government to obtain 61 votes it needs to pass legislation at the Knesset."
(Edited by: By Shoma)