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Monday, 26 July 2021

Who are set to be Israel's new guard?

Duration: 02:18s 0 shares 1 views
Who are set to be Israel's new guard?
Who are set to be Israel's new guard?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday fought back against an agreement by his political opponents for a government of left-wing, centrist and right-wing parties aimed at unseating him.

Megan Revell reports.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, is on the verge of being toppled from power after more than a decade in office.

From ultra-nationalists to Arab Israeli Islamists, the right-winger is set to be ousted by an extremely fragile and unlikely alliance of parties from across the political spectrum who have little in common, other than their desire to break a political deadlock that saw four elections in two years.

The coalition all hinges on an unlikely figure: Mansour Abbas, head of the United Arab List.

The inclusion of his tiny Islamist faction was crucial in securing a paper-thin majority for the coalition, which would be the first in Israel's history to represent its 21% Arab minority.

A dentist by profession, Abbas said he has put differences aside for a chance to improve conditions for Arab citizens, who report discrimination and government neglect.

His inclusion stands in stark contrast to head of the new guard: Naftali Bennett, leader of the ultra-nationalist party Yamina, or "Rightwards".

Bennett is a former leader of a major Jewish settlement organisation and an advocate of annexing most of the the occupied West Bank.

His religious, pro-settler party won only seven of the Knesset's 120 seats in the March election but Bennett emerged first as kingmaker, then king-slayer, and now king.

Under the deal, the former defense minister and a high-tech millionaire would become prime minister before handing over the post in two years to centrist Yair Lapid.

Lapid is a former TV host and finance minister who heads up Yesh Atid.

The centre-left party came second in the latest election, with 17 seats.

Sources say the hopeful government would initially avoid hot-button ideological issues.

Parliamentary approval is still pending, and analysts say Netanyahu will try and pick off, quote, "low-hanging fruit", trying to convince right-wingers to jump ship who are unhappy about teaming up with Arab and leftist lawmakers.