If Benjamin Netanyahu has his way today, Israel’s next government will feature not one, not two, but THREE prime ministers.
In a last-ditch effort to prevent a government dominated by center and left-wing parties, Bibi offered a three-way rotation with the leaders of the right-wing parties Yamina and New Hope.
There is no love lost between Netanyahu and the heads of those parties, Naftali Bennett and Gideon Sa’ar, respectively (seen in the above photo “conspiring” as Bibi looks on). Sa’ar based his campaign on the promise of not sitting in a Netanyahu-led government.
Bibi’s proposal would have Sa’ar serve as prime minister for the first year-and-three-months of the new government, Netanyahu would then get his turn for two years, and Bennett would close out the term with a year-and-three-months at the helm.
Following an election in which the political right won a clear majority of seats, Netanyahu and others insist it would be a violation of the voters’ will for anything but a right-wing coalition to assume power.
If Netanyahu can convince Sa’ar by the end of the day, a right-wing government with a strong majority of 65 seats would be established. But that seems next to impossible. Sa’ar has until now remained dedicated to ousting Netanyahu from power, and indicated at press time that he would reject the proposal.
For his part, Bennett promised last night that he’d join such a government if Netanyahu could find a viable path to a majority by 10 pm tonight.
If that doesn’t happen, Bennett has vowed to join a “government of change” anchored by the centrist Yesh Atid party. Sa’ar is also leaning in that direction.
Government of change, but then what?
In return for joining this center-left coalition (which would also include a couple other right-wing parties) Bennett would serve first as prime minister, for two years. After, he will be replaced by Yair Lapid, head of Yesh Atid.
If this “government of change” is formed, it will be a minority government of 58 seats (out of 120 in Knesset) comprised of:
- Yesh Atid (centrist – 17)
- Blue and White (centrist – 8 )
- Yamina (religious right – 7)
- Labor (left – 7)
- Yisrael Beiteinu (secular right – 7)
- New Hope (right – 6)
- Meretz (far left – 6)
This means it will rely on the outside support of the Islamist party Ra’am.
It will also, as you can see above, be a hodgepodge of ideologies ranging from Zionist religious right to secular far left.
It’s hard to imagine such a coalition surviving more than a year given that the only thing on which they do agree is ending Netanyahu’s reign.