Recent unrest in occupied territories further complicated the political crisis inside Israel and diminished chances of Yair Lapid for a new coalition government.
Eight days before Israeli politician Yair Lapid’s chance to form a coalition government ends, he and colleague at the Knesset Avigdor Liberman have reached an agreement. Yisrael Beitenu party leader and his Yesh Atid counterpart announced that they have established a coalition agreement. This might be considered the first step toward a post-crisis government.
However, Lapid’s chances of attracting other nationalist parties to his “change bloc” may remain slim. Gideon Sa’ar, of the New Hope, is unwilling to join, while Yamina’s leader, Naftali Bennett, has recently stated that joining such a government is out of the question, leaving Lapid’s future uncertain.
Lapid’s decision to work with Liberman and party is part of a bigger plan to build a government before his opportunity expires. The main goal is to sign with the bloc’s members and then claim that “a government is ready, based on what we almost agreed on on Jerusalem Day, before the missiles fell into Jerusalem,” as a senior expert at University of Jerusalem put it.
Earlier in May, the “change bloc” was perceived to be on the verge of finalizing a government. After unrest erupted across the nation, however, Bennett rejected all the former agreed coalition arrangements based on security and political considerations.
A surge of violence rocked Israel’s communities and neighbourhoods at the same time that Israel and Hamas fought in Gaza. Huge loads of property, public and private, were destroyed. In Ramla and Lod, Synagogues were set to fire by furious protesters.
Numerous Jews have been lynched by groups of Palestinian citizens of Israel. On the other side, one Arab citizen was heavily injured by Jewish chauvinists who viciously beat him in an incident televised. The man was in urgent need of hospitalisation and surgery.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other side of the game, appears to have struck a stalemate. Gaining Bennett’s favour cannot secure him of the support from Bezalel Smotrich, a hardline right-wing politician on one side and Islamist parties on the other, both he needs to be able to form the majority. Smotrich has stood firm in his unwillingness to consent to any deal including the United Arab List.
Lapid has stated that establishing a government is unlikely. He, furthermore, has threatened to dissolve the present Knesset if he fails in his attempt. This would bar Netanyahu from seeking re-election to the premiership until the next set of elections, fifth one in in just two years.
Activists and political experts point out that the formation of a government is contingent on Lapid’s potential partners’ ability to secure the patronage of their respective parties. Nevertheless, there is no certainty about this. “The name of the game is the inner dynamics of the three parties: Yamina, the United Arab List, and Sa’ar’s New Hope, with the latest clash between Jews and Arabs in mixed cities as a backdrop,” a professor in the political science department at Bar-Ilan University has said.
There is no clear evidence showing Bennett and United Arab List leader Mansour Abbas have the full support of fellow members at the parties. Following the recent aggression inside Israel, adversary and fury spiked among the extremist Zionist community, Yamina’s base, toward Israel’s Arab citizens.
Abbas, on the other side, is facing internal opposition. He is now facing calls from party members to be ousted after visiting a synagogue that was burned down during the riots.