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Knesset Speaker announces new government to be sworn in on Sunday – one day earlier than required by law

The fragile coalition has to survive another five days of possible defections and attempts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud members to persuade right wingers in the government to join them instead

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin seen at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, June 7, 2021. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin just announced this morning that the new government will be sworn in on Sunday – one day earlier than was required by law.

That means the fragile coalition has to survive another five days of possible defections and attempts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud members to persuade right wingers in the government to join them instead.

Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett said yesterday that he wanted the vote to be held tomorrow and coalition leader Yair Lapid had said it would be wrong to delay the vote to the last possible day, Monday.

"There is no reason in the world, legal or otherwise, that a government won't be sworn in in two days except to put pressure," Lapid said. "That is not proper."

The path to a government has been rocky, to say the least. After three prior inconclusive elections and failed governments, this current coalition – which only came after Netanyahu failed to gather a majority of his own – has been beset by protests and threats against some of its members for joining a "left-wing" government.

The level of incitement even has the Shin Bet (Israel’s Internal Security Agency) worried.

The domestic intelligence agency's chief, Nadav Argaman, issued a rare warning on Saturday that the current political atmosphere was similar to tactics used prior to the assassination of the former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

The main crux of opposition if seemingly coming from right wingers who feel that a coalition comprised of left-wing and Arab parties is detrimental to Israel's security. However, if your look at the proposed coalition's composition, the left and Ra’am only make up 17 of the 61-seat majority while the center has 25 and the right has 19.

In Israel, it is rare to have a pure right- or left-wing government. Left-wing Labor has agreed to serve in several of Netanyahu’s governments, including the most recent in 2020 though there is little that connects the far ends of the political spectrum ideologically.

And even Netanyahu courted the Arab party, Ra'am, to sit in his government, but he failed to get enough seats to form a majority.

The mandate was handed over to Lapid a few weeks ago who managed to gather eight highly disparate parties who united over one primary goal – to replace Netanyahu.

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Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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