Race to Knesset: Israel's political roller coaster since its last election

 | Updated: May 31, 2021, 03:39 PM IST

Two rivals of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a partnership on Sunday that could remove Israel`s longest-serving leader.

Yair Lapid-Naftali Bennett

Here is a timeline of events that led to the emerging coalition deal between centrist Yair Lapid and the far-right Naftali Bennett, and what happens next.

March 23, 2021: Israel holds its fourth inconclusive election in two years. As in every previous vote, no party won a majority in the 120-seat parliament. Netanyahu`s right-wing Likud emerges as the biggest party.

Lapid's centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) comes second. Bennett`s Yamina (Rightwards) party wins just six seats, but he emerges as kingmaker.


Israel's President Reuven Rivlin

April 6: President Reuven Rivlin gives Netanyahu 28 days to form a new government. He woos smaller right-wing and religious parties, including Yamina, but fails.


Yair Lapid

May 5: Rivlin turns to Lapid, who tries to form a "government of change" from an unlikely coalition of right-wing, centrist and leftist parties.

Such a coalition would be fragile and require outside backing by Arab members of Israel`s parliament, who oppose much of the right-wing agenda of some in the group.


Israel targets Gaza buildings

May 10: Fighting erupts between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and unrest breaks out in many mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel. Coalition talks break down.

May 21: Ceasefire declared. Coalition talks resume.


The Knesset: Israel's parliament

May 30: Bennett announces he will join centrist rivals to unseat Netanyahu.

June 2: Deadline for Lapid to announce whether he has formed a majority coalition. If he fails, the president turns it over to anyone in parliament who thinks they can succeed. Or a fifth election will be called.