Knesset speaker set to formally present new government, moving closer to swearing-in

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Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin is slated to announce that Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid has succeeded in forming a coalition at the parliament’s meeting on Monday. This means that the government that Lapid has put together with Yamina’s Naftali Bennett will be sworn in by next Monday at the latest.

According to the coalition agreements, Bennett will serve as prime minister until August 27, 2023, at which point Lapid will replace him and Bennett will become interior minister. During the first half of the term, Lapid will be foreign minister. Even after the members of all the coalition parties met on Sunday, some issues still have yet to be resolved.

The draft coalition agreement between the Yesh Atid and Yamina parties says that if the government fails to pass a state budget within 100 days after its formation, the government will collapse and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid will not succeed Yamina’s Naftali Bennett as prime minister.

The rotation agreement, which was reviewed by Lapid and Bennett Sunday evening, is based mainly on a similar accord between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz in the current government. However, it makes several changes to ensure that it is honored.

Sources involved in the talks said both sides were acutely aware of the budget issue, which brought down the Netanyahu government, and that the agreement is ultimately based on trust between Lapid and Bennett. However, Yesh Atid is reportedly seeking defense mechanisms that would go into force in the latter part of Bennett’s term as prime minister on the assumption that if the agreement is going to be violated, it won’t happen in the government’s first few months.

Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett condemned Sunday efforts to pressure lawmakers from his Yamina party to desert the new coalition, and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “to let go and allow Israel to move forward.”

“In recent weeks there is a violent machine being operated against lawmakers from Yamina and New Hope; it’s a funded, managed operation whose aim is to break them so that they’ll desert and vote against the new government, and this operation, unfortunately, all means are kosher,” Bennett said.

Later in his remarks, which were made at the Knesset, Bennett addressed Netanyahu and said, “People are allowed to vote to establish a government even if you don’t head it. A government which, by the way, is 10 degrees more right-wing than the present one.” He added, “I heard Netanyahu tell his supporters, using exactly this language, ‘Don’t be afraid to lay into them.’”

Bennett addressed the threats directed at Yamina lawmaker Idit Silman, saying, “To ‘lay into’ them is to follow a lawmaker with a car with blaring loudspeakers, to scare her children en route to school, to threaten dismissal from work and to send curses and threats in all directions.”

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