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Israel: Domestic political bloc steps up efforts to oust Netanyahu

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: May 30, 2021, 10:10 PM IST

File photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photograph:(AFP)

Story highlights

Netanyahu has been able to cling to power through period of political turmoil. Israel has had four inconclusive elections in under two years

Uncertainty over whether Israeli nationalist hardliner Naftali Bennet would joined a governing coalition persisted on Sunday. If he decides to join, it may mark end of the rule of Israel's longest-serving leader Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lawmakers opposed to right-wing Netanyahu were in intense talks ahead of a Wednesday deadline, as a ceasefire held following the latest deadly military conflict with Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu faces trail on fraud bribery and breach of trust charges. He denies those accusations. He has been able to cling to power through period of political turmoil. Israel has had four inconclusive elections in under two years.

After vote in March, Netanyahu's Likud party gained most seat but failed to form government again. 

Former TV anchor Yair Lapid is now trying to build a rival coalition

Centrist Lapid has until Wednesday 11:59 pm local time (2059 GMT) to build a coalition of at least 61 deputies, a majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

The 57-year-old is seeking to forge a diverse alliance the Israeli media has dubbed a bloc for "change", which would include Bennett as well as Arab-Israeli lawmakers. 

In his determination to bring down the hawkish prime minister, Lapid has offered to share power and let Bennett, 49, serve the first term in a rotating premiership.

Bennett was expected to speak Sunday evening after a meeting with his party, a spokeswoman said.

Netanyahu, in office for 12 consecutive years after an earlier three-year term, tried to cling to power Sunday by offering his own, last-ditch power-sharing agreement to several former allies including Bennett.

He warned that Israel would otherwise be ruled by a dangerous "left-wing" alliance. 

(With inputs from agencies)