Netanyahu could lose PM job as rivals attempt to join forces
A former ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 30 said he would seek to form a coalition government with the Israeli leader's opponents, taking a major step toward ending the rule of the longtime premier.
The dramatic announcement by Naftali Bennett, leader of the small hardline Yamina party, set the stage for a series of steps that could push Netanyahu and his dominant Likud party into the opposition in the coming week.
While Bennett and his new partners, headed by opposition leader Yair Lapid, still face some obstacles, the sides appeared to be serious about reaching a deal and ending the deadlock that has plunged the country into four elections in the past two years.
"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.
The pair have until Wednesday to complete a deal in which each is expected to serve two years as prime minister in a rotation deal, with Bennett holding the job first. Lapid's Yesh Atid party said negotiating teams were to meet later on May 30.
Bennett, a former top aide to Netanyahu who has held senior Cabinet posts, shares the prime minister's hard-line ideology. He is a former leader of the West Bank settlement movement and heads a small party whose base includes religious and nationalist Jews. Yet he has had a strained and complicated relationship with his one-time mentor due to personal differences.
Bennett said there was no feasible way after the deadlocked March 23 election to form a right-wing government favored by Netanyahu. He said another election would yield the same results and said it was time to end the...