(AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
's opponents announced a deal
to form a new governing coalition, paving the way for Netanyahu's ouster.
The dramatic announcement by opposition leader Yair Lapid
and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett
, came moments before a midnight deadline and saved Israel
from holding its fifth consecutive election
in less than two years.
Lapid said in a statement on Twitter
that he had informed the country's president of the agreement. "This government will work
for all of Israel's citizens, those who voted for it and those who did not, and it will do everything to unite Israeli society," he said.
,.,.,. — - Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) June 2, 2021
The agreement calls for Lapid and Bennett to share the job of prime minister in a two-year rotation, with Bennett serving the first two years and Lapid serving the final two. The historic agreement also includes a small Islamist party, the United Arab List, which would become the first Arab party to be part of a governing coalition.
The agreement still needs to be approved by the Knesset
, or parliament, in a vote scheduled for early next week; if approved, Lapid and his diverse coalition of partners will bring an end to Netanyahu's record-breaking 12-year reign.
Netanyahu, desperate to keep his job while fighting corruption
charges, is expected to do everything in his power in the coming days to prevent the new coalition from taking power; if he fails, he will be forced to resign.