With less than an hour before the deadline of his mandate to form a government ends, head of the Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid announced to outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, that he has acquired enough signatures from party leaders to form a government.
The aforementioned government must now be sworn in by at least 61 Knesset members in the next 12 days.
Lapid spoke to the president on the phone and informed him that the government will comprise Yesh Atid, Kachol Lavan, Yamina, Labor, Yisrael Beiteinu, New Hope, Meretz and Ra’am.
Chair of Yamina Naftali Bennett will be prime minister and Chairperson of Yesh Atid MK Yair Lapid will be alternate prime minister.
After approximately two years there will be a changeover, after which Chairperson of Yesh Atid MK Yair Lapid will become prime minister and Chair of Yamina Naftali Bennett will become alternate prime minister.
The newly formed coalition still has some challenges ahead of it before anything is determined for certain. Among the challenges, it needs to surmount is the possible defection of MKs from Yamina, Nir Orbach and Idit Silman. Orbach, whose rabbi is Rav Chaim Druckman, is being pressured to defect and vote against the formation of the government. Silman is also suspected of planning to leave the Yamina party in a move to block the formation of the unity government. Naftali Bennett is pressuring the pair to resign from the Knesset and not to vote against the coalition. Yamina is also supposed to obtain the Ministry of Interior for Bennett once he changes places with Lapid and the agreement would also see MK Ayelet Shaked become the Justice Minister for the last two years of the term, changing places with New Hope chairman, MK Gideon Sa’ar.
In order to have the government ratified by the Knesset, it would need 61 votes and every last vote from coalition members. Should Orbach and Silman defect or vote against the government it would not pass and the mandate would then pass to the Knesset allowing any MK who can get 61 MKs to support him or her to form a government. Should that fail, elections would be called once again.
Talks have already begun with the United Arab List to have members of their party vote in favor of the government should Orbach and Silman follow through with their threats and attempt to torpedo the agreement.
While nothing is determined for certain as of yet, a large step has been taken toward ending the 12-year premiership of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The president thanked Lapid and said, “I congratulate you and the heads of the parties on your agreement to form a government. We expect the Knesset will convene as soon as possible to ratify the government, as required.”
By The Yeshiva World and combined sources