Head of Israel’s Likud Party, Benjamin Netanyahu, said yesterday that he was ready to accept Yamina Party head, Naftali Bennett, as prime minister during the first year of a rotation agreement if a coalition is formed.
In a video message he released on social media, Netanyahu said:
“I told him [Bennett] I am willing to accept his demand for a rotation deal in which he will serve first as prime minister for one year.”
He added that such a deal would also see “Yamina party members will enter the government and Knesset with important roles.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel made an unusual proposal to hand over leadership for a year to a rival from a small party, Naftali Bennett, before his time to form a government runs out at midnight Tuesday. Bennett seemed to dismiss the offer. https://t.co/l4l8cfZJNI
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 3, 2021
“In a post 10 days ago, Bennett wrote that a right-wing government could be formed if I move aside for the first year. So I moved aside. Now it’s your turn.”
“Personal boycotts and personal rivalries within the right must not prevent the formation of a right-wing government,” he added.
In response, Bennett said he had never asked to be prime minister and reiterated his previous pledge to join Netanyahu only if he garnered sufficient support for a coalition, the Times of Israel reported, adding he would back another government if Likud failed to form a coalition.
Prime Minister Benjamin @Netanyahu held a secret meeting with Yamina chairman @NaftaliBennett at the Prime Minister’s Residence in #Jerusalem on Thursday.@Gil_Hoffman explains why. https://t.co/p0MmoZyFXn
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) May 2, 2021
“If Netanyahu doesn’t manage to form a government, we will form a unity government,” Bennett insisted, according to the Times of Israel, referring to a coalition with centrist, left-wing and right-wing parties. “The most destructive thing for Israel is more elections,” he stressed.
Religious Zionism Party leader Bezalel Smotrich and New Hope’s Gideon Sa’ar both made clear again yesterday that they would not boost Netanyahu’s chances, local media reported.
Netanyahu’s mandate to form a government comes to an end today. If he fails, the Israeli president can transfer the mandate to the head of the opposition, Yair Lapid.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)