Ex-Israeli Defence Minister agrees to join anti-Netanyahu coalition


Former Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, also leader of the pro-settler party of Yamina, announced that he has accepted a coalition deal with centrist Yair Lapid to form “the government of change” to oust Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving Prime Minister.

Bennett said in a statement on Sunday that he and Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, will work to put together a coalition government following the March 23 elections, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I intend to do all I can to form a unity government with my friend Yair Lapid to rescue the county from the tailspin and return Israel to its course,” he added.

Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu, said he took the step in order to prevent yet another election after four inconclusive elections in two years.

Israel has held four elections in the past two years but all have failed to produce a clear majority.

Lapid’s centrist party came in second in the elections on March 23, behind Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud.

After the March elections, Netanyahu had failed to form a government, so President Reuven Rivlin appointed Lapid to do so.

He has until Wednesday to form a new coalition government.

Bennett and Lapid have agreed to rotate as Prime Ministers, with Bennett serving first, according to Israel’s state-owned Kan TV news.