Are Netanyahu's Days in Power Numbered?
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
He's Israel's longest serving prime minister — even though his hard-right Likud party never got more than around 25% support when Knesset elections are held.
Still he managed to cobble together majority coalition support to retain power since 2009.
On trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust — with damning evidence of guilt — his top priority is keeping it to avoid conviction and imprisonment.
According to Haaretz on Sunday, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett may "announce that they successfully reached a coalition agreement with all the relevant parties on Wednesday, the day that Lapid's mandate to form a government expires," adding:
If finalized this week, Yamina party head Bennett will initially serve as Israeli prime minister.
Yesh Atid party leader Lapid will be alternate prime minister and foreign minister.
Yisrael Beiteinu's Avigdor Lieberman will serve as finance minister.
Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz will continue as war minister, New Hope's Gideon Sa'ar to be justice minister, and former justice minister Ayelet Shaked slated to be interior minister.
It's a post Netanyahu is desperate to retain control over because of his ongoing corruption trial.
On Sunday, Ynet News reported that Sa'ar rejected Netanyahu's power-sharing offer to serve as prime minister for 18 months, followed by the incumbent for two years — then a six-month PM term for Bennett.
"Our position and commitment were and remain to change the Netanyahu government," Saar tweeted on Sunday, adding:
"We will continue to act accordingly. Hot tip for the coming days: Ignore the spin" — referring to Netanyahu's way of operating, a figure never to be trusted.
After he and Gantz agreed to share power in 2020, he breached the deal to retain power.
After initially agreeing with Lapid to form a coalition government and then backing off, Bennett may about-face again by announcing he'll join the anti-Netanyahu block as soon as Sunday.
On Saturday, he said if Netanyahu isn't able to cobble together majority Likud-led coalition support, he'll ally with Lapid, Gantz, Sa'ar, Lieberman, and others against him.
The above figures also said if empowered, they'll present legislation to prohibit anyone charged with criminal offenses from serving as prime minister, as well as limiting the numbers of terms for the office.
If Lapid, Bennett, Sa'ar and others fail to agree on a majority coalition by June 2, a fifth Kennett election since April 2019 will likely follow.
As for Netanyahu, it's foolhardy to count him out or believe that he'll go quietly into that good night with what's at stake from the outcome of his ongoing trial.
Last week he said "every personal consideration should be put aside and far-reaching measures should be taken, even unprecedented."
"This is what all the right-wing party heads have been doing so far."
"We've suggested a far-reaching offer to Gideon Sa'ar and Naftali Bennett, a proposal that would prevent the formation of a dangerous left-wing government (sic) and would ensure a strong right-wing stable movement for many years to come (sic), which will take care of all of Israel's citizens (sic)."
On Sunday morning, the Times of Israel reported that Bennett is likely to agree with Lapid and others to form a "change bloc" coalition that will replace Netanyahu in power.
Unless and until a new power bloc is formed and empowered, Netanyahu is still prime minister.
According to Israel's Channel 12, if replaced by an opposition coalition, Netanyahu won't resign and will lead parties supporting him against the Lapid/Bennett-led bloc to try breaking it up along ideological lines.
As the saying goes, it ain't over till it's over.
VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home - Stephen Lendman). Contact at email@example.com.
My two Wall Street books are timely reading:
"How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War"
"Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity"