Israel Political Crisis: Netanyahu’s political rivals seek to form unity government that may unseat him

The far-right and centrist parties are seeking to form a governing coalition in Israel, if successful, their coalition would unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his center-right Likud party for the first time since 2009.

The Yamina right-wing alliance leader Naftali Bennett said in a news conference that he would form a unity government with opposition Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party.

“It’s my intention to do my utmost in order to form a national unity government along with my friend Yair Lapid, so that, God willing, together we can save the country from a tailspin and return Israel to its course,” Bennett said.

Bennett, a former Netanyahu aide turned rival, said he had made the decision to prevent Israel from sliding into a fifth consecutive election in just over two years.

Although Bennet shares Netanyahu’s nationalist ideology, he said there was no feasible way for the hard-line right-wing to form a governing majority in parliament.

Soon after the news, Netanyahu accused Bennett of betraying the Israeli right-wing and perpetrating “the fraud of the century,” citing past public promises Bennett made not to team up with Lapid.

The Israeli leader urged nationalist politicians who have joined the coalition talks not to establish what he called a “leftist government.”

“A government like this is a danger to the security of Israel, and is also a danger to the future of the state,” he said.

If a Naftali-Lapid alliance fails to form a government and new elections are triggered, Netanyahu could have another chance at seeing the election of a parliament in his favor.

However, if the pair reach an agreement, it is expected to have them each serve two years as prime minister in a rotation deal.