August 2, 2021

Knesset votes to endorse “coalition for change”, expected end of Netanyahu era

Israel is preparing, Sunday, June 13, to open a new page in its history with an expected vote in Parliament, to endorse a “Coalition of change” to put an end to the reign of Benyamin Netanyahu.

The Knesset meets in special session from 4 p.m. local (3 p.m. in Paris) to allow centrist and opposition leader Yaïr Lapid and leader of the radical right Naftali Bennett to present their team that will be the subject in the evening of a vote.

This heterogeneous coalition – bringing together two left-wing parties, two from the center, three from the right and an Arab party – has gathered the necessary majority of 61 deputies out of the 120 in parliament.

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And unless there is a last-minute turnaround, it should obtain the blessing of elected officials, which will thus make it possible to oust Benyamin Netanyahu from power, at the head of the government for twelve years without interruption.

A demonstration in front of Netanyahu’s residence

A demonstration in front of Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, Saturday, June 12, 2021.

Faced for a year on a corruption trial, Mr. Netanyahu, 71, was again the target of a protest demonstration on Saturday evening. In front of his official residence in Jerusalem, those gathered did not wait for the vote to celebrate the « chute » of “King Bibi”, nickname of Mr. Netanyahu, who has been the face of Israel since his return to power in 2009, after three first years as head of government, from 1996 to 1999.

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“Netanyahu only sought to divide us, one part of society against the other, but tomorrow we will be united, right, left, Jews, Arabs”, Ofir Robinsky said at the rally. “It’s good, it’s over, he’s leaving”, launched Gali Israel Tal, a 62-year-old protester.

Formal handover on Monday

The new coalition will be led by Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right-wing Yamina party, for the first two years, then by Yaïr Lapid for an equivalent period.

After the planned Knesset vote, a formal handover is due to take place at the prime minister’s office on Monday.

In recent days, Yamina MPs have been the target of an intense campaign to discourage them from voting for the new government.

Either way, Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud has promised a “Peaceful transfer of power” after more than two years of political crisis marked by four ballots which resulted either in an inability to form a government, or in a cabinet of union which lasted only a few months.

An investigation into the Mont Méron stampede

After the legislative elections in March, the opposition finally united against Benyamin Netanyahu and – an extremely rare event – it succeeded in rallying the Arab Israeli party Raam of moderate Islamist Mansour Abbas.

“The government will work for the entire population religious, secular, ultra-Orthodox, Arabs and this, without exception ”, promised Naftali Bennett, ex-close to Mr. Netanyahu. “The people deserve a responsible, efficient government, which places the good of the country at the top of its priorities”, added Yaïr Lapid, who should be head of diplomacy under Mr. Bennett.

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Beyond these statements, the coalition pledged to conduct an investigation into the Mont Méron stampede (45 Orthodox dead), to reduce the “Criminality”, to defend the rights of LGBT people but also to strengthen the Israeli presence in area known as “C”, in the West Bank, that is to say the area over which Israel has full military and civilian control and which represents about 60% of this Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.

The challenge of a lasting truce with Hamas

As soon as it takes office, the new government would face pressing challenges such as the planned march of the Israeli far right in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian sector occupied by Israel.

The Islamist movement Hamas, in power in Gaza, a Palestinian enclave under Israeli blockade, has threatened retaliation if the march is held near the Mosques plaza, amid deep tensions over Israeli colonization in Jerusalem. Is.

On May 10, Hamas launched rocket salutes at the Hebrew state in “Solidarity” with Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, which led to an eleven-day war.

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A ceasefire was certainly obtained, under the aegis of Egypt, which made it possible to end the conflict, but, and this will be another challenge for the new government, talks for a truce durable have not been successful.

As for the outgoing Prime Minister, he could also have to face, according to the local press, a wave of protests within Likud, elected officials seeking to turn, internally, the Netanyahu page.

The World with AFP