Israel's Netanyahu facing loss of power
Israel could be seeing a change in leadership for the first time in 12 years after opponents of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached an 11-hour deal to form a new governing coalition. But it's not a done deal yet, and Netanyahu is fighting to hold onto his seat. The coalition is pushing for a swift vote in parliament.
"It's not sworn in yet, until it's sworn in, it could break down, but obviously this is the closest he's come to losing power in 12 years," said Yair Rosenberg, a senior writer for Tablet Magazine.
After four inconclusive elections, Netanyahu has managed to hold on to power, and he's not going to surrender it easily this time. On Twitter Thursday, he called on lawmakers to "oppose this dangerous left-wing government."
"He's going to push many of the people in this new emerging coalition — people who are traditionally allies of him," said Joe Federman, the news director for The Associated Press in Israel.
The new government would be made up of a diverse group of parties across the political spectrum, including the first Arab party to join an Israeli coalition. It is led by an unlikely pair: opposition leader Yair Lapid and the conservative Naftali Bennett, a Netanyahu protege.
"It's this hodgepodge of different interests," Rosenberg said.
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If the coalition is successful, Lapid and Bennett would rotate as prime minister, with Bennett in the seat for the first two years. But he would have a difficult time actually ruling, because of the diverse makeup of the coalition under him, Rosenberg said.
He gave this rough analogy of Bennett replacing Netanyahu.
"It's as if you replaced Donald Trump with Liz Cheney — only Liz Cheney, in order to pass anything with her program, would have to get the agreement of Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, Mitt Romney, and Ilan Omar," Rosenberg said. "And after two years, Liz Cheney would get replaced by Chuck Schumer."
The coalition has a razor-thin majority of 61 out of 120 votes in parliament. And it has come together at a tumultuous time for Israel after an 11-day war with Hamas in May.
Some Israeli residents say they're not confident a new government could succeed.
"It's not really a feasible government the way it's put together," Moshe Shain, a Jerusalem resident, said. "But, you know, I'm always hopeful and I wish them luck."
Parliament is set to vote on the coalition next week but that could be delayed by the speaker of the body, who is a Netanyahu ally. A delay would give Netanyahu more time to chip away at the opposition's support.