Oded Balilti / AFP
JERUSALEM – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday enlisted the help of Israeli opposition Prime Minister Yair Lapid in an attempt to form a new government, which could lead to weeks of political negotiations that could break the cycle of inconclusive Israeli elections and lead to the end of record-breaking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu without interruption. . 12 years.
But Rivlin admitted that there were “many difficulties” in forming a new government, leaving the door open to the possibility of holding an unprecedented fifth election within two years.
Netanyahu spent a month trying to form a right-wing governing coalition after the March elections, but sought the support of an Arab Islamist party, which one of his ultra-nationalist Jewish partners rejected.
After Netanyahu failed to assemble a parliamentary majority by midnight late Tuesday, nearly half of parliament members offered their support for Lapid, a 57-year-old former journalist and finance minister who has served in the opposition for the past six years.
Lapid said he would seek to form a unity government from ideologically diverse parties, ending “two years of political paralysis” as Netanyahu struggled to win a new term after four inconclusive elections.
“The unity government is not a compromise or a last resort. It is a goal, and this is what we need,” Lapid said in a statement.
He is offering to share power with right-wing Naftali Bennett, a devout Jew and former defense minister, even being allowed to serve as prime minister first by rotation.
Such a government would require Jewish parties of the left, right, and center to cooperate and accept the support of an Arab party as well. A member of Bennett’s party has rejected the idea of collaborating with the left wing, and Bennett, a former businessman, must weigh the risks of angering his constituents with such a broad alliance.
“It now depends on whether Bennett is serious about change,” said veteran political advisor Ayelet Fresh. Almost every detail [of the coalition] It was finished. The ministries have already been divided between the two parties. “
Johanan Plesner, president of the non-partisan Israel Democracy Institute, said the parties’ shared desire to topple Netanyahu could outweigh ideological differences. He indicated that such a government would not affect sensitive issues such as the authority of the Israeli Supreme Court or the future of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, but would instead focus on the post-pandemic economy.
“I think we’re on the way there,” said Plesner.
Netanyahu tried to delegitimize this option. “The truth is simple. This will be a dangerous left-wing government and a fatal combination between lack of path, lack of capacity and irresponsibility,” he said in a videotaped statement.
If Lapid does not succeed in forming a government within a month, the Israeli parliament, the 120-member Knesset, will have three weeks to propose a candidate for prime minister. If no candidate receives the support of a majority of the members of Parliament, Israel will hold another election within several months.
Sami Sokol in Jerusalem contributed to this report.