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Benjamin Netanyahu‘s 12-year tenure as prime minister of Israel appeared to be coming to an end Wednesday as two of his main opponents announced a deal to forge a governing coalition hours ahead of a deadline set by the country’s president.
Centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid announced on Twitter that he had informed Israeli President Reuben Rivlin of the agreement with ultranationalist former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.
“This government will work for all the citizens of Israel, those that voted for it and those that didn’t. It will do everything to unite Israeli society,” Lapid wrote on Twitter.
Israel has undergone four parliamentary elections since April 2019 and would have faced a fifth had Lapid and Bennett failed to broker the reported deal. Netanyahu’s Likud party won the most seats in the most recent election, held March 23, but failed to form a majority coalition with his traditional religious and nationalist allies.
Under the agreement, Lapid and Bennett would split the job of prime minister, with Bennett serving for the first two years and Lapid taking the final two years. The coalition also includes the Islamist United Arab List, which would be the first Arab party ever to be part of a governing coalition in Israel.
The agreement still needs to be approved by the Knesset, or parliament, in a vote that is expected to take place early next week.
There was no immediate response from Netanyahu, who has been in power since March 2009, making him the longest serving prime minister in the history of the Jewish state. The 71-year-old has sought to remain in power while fighting corruption charges.
With Post wires
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