A cheerful Yair Lapid smiled on the phone as he communicated to President Rivlin that Israel finally had a government . Beside him, his partner, Naftali Bennett , gave a shy smile.
After the deadline that was running out at midnight, the leaders of Yesh Atid and Yamina now face a hectic week full of doubts to manage to keep the fragile agreement until approval in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. There are still many obstacles to overcome in the coming days. The main one is the greed of a Netanyahu who will not abandon power without using all his weapons.
Countdown to the vote of confidence necessary for the new government to be sworn in. As Lapid longs for the days to fly by, Netanyahu will use the time to intensify the pressure on Yamina’s hesitant MPs .
To do this, he will send the protesters out into the streets, right up to the doors of their homes, launch aggressive campaigns on social networks and put curses on the country’s rabbis. Netanyahu has called on “all Knesset members elected by votes from the right” to oppose the new “left” government that he has described as “dangerous”.
Speed up voting
The Acting Prime Minister has also accused Bennett of “selling himself” to Mansour Abás’s United Arab List . The Islamist leader has been optimistic for being the first Arab formation to join an Israeli government since the birth of the state.
Many of his officials have acknowledged that Netanyahu’s Likud offers were more beneficial to his community, although Abbas has secured commitments for increased financial funding and an end to the demolition of Palestinian homes in Israel.
With the new deal resting on quicksand , Lapid and Bennet look to score a key victory. Yesh Atid’s leader is using every possible trick to replace Knesset President Yariv Levin of the Likud . He wants to prevent the chamber vote from being delayed further for the benefit of his party leader.
The rules say Levin has one week to schedule a vote of confidence for a new government after being informed of the need to do so in an official plenary session. This may delay voting until June 14 .
Doubts in Yamina
The United Arab List has shown its intention to support the initiative to expel Levin to accelerate the firing of Netanyahu . But quickly, both Bennett and Lapid have distanced themselves from his support, claiming that he is not coordinated with the coalition.
“The past year demonstrated more than ever that the deepest and most fundamental gap in the history of our country was and continues to be the relationship between Jews and Arabs between the [Jordan] river and the [Mediterranean] sea,” writes Noa Landau in ‘ Haaretz ‘. “It is logical that the last moments of this political saga are also articulated on this gap,” he adds.
To the unpredictability of Netanyahu, must be added the absence of a total conviction among the members of the agreement, especially the Yamina deputies, due to their ideological differences. Emichai Chikli had already announced that he would not support the coalition, depriving it of its 62nd deputy.
In addition, Nir Orbach expressed his doubts on Wednesday, snatching the longed-for majority. But after meeting with Bennett, Orbach has reiterated his support and said he will do “everything possible” to benefit the country in the long run.
Political career at stake
Bennett is the one who most gambles the vote of confidence . His far-right voters have already accused him of a ” traitor .” If this government does not materialize and Israel returns to the polls , Yamina’s leader will receive punishment from his electorate.
The only way to save his political career is to become prime minister and serve a decent couple of years in office. Like a raven, Netanyahu is hovering around the members of Yamina and Nueva Esperanza so that they do not form a government with Lapid.
The Shin Bet , Israel’s internal security service, has provided the future prime minister with a personal security team after signing the agreement. This movement is not at all common since these services are usually reserved to the prime minister, president and leader of the opposition.
But the climate of tension has been present in Israel for weeks, and it continues to increase. Both Bennet and his number two, Ayelet Shaked, and Yesh Atid’s leader Yair Lapid are under special protection from the Shin Bet.
But the threats have spread to all political parties . Meretz MP Tamar Zandberg had to leave her home after right-wing members gathered in front of her home threatened to kill not only her but her baby as well. The stakes are high in the coming days and the impunity of Netanyahu’s three decades in power is spreading among his followers.