Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu could be ousted from power
Fox News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram has the latest on ‘Special Report’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday reportedly said in a meeting with allies that his potential replacement wouldn’t be able to stand up to President Biden.
Netanyahu’s reported pushback comes as his rivals formed a historic coalition agreement to end his 12-year rule this week.
The latest political maneuvering began just hours after opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, declared they had reached a deal to form a new government and muster a majority in the 120-member Knesset, or parliament.
Netanyahu asked allies to spread the idea that Bennett, the prime minister-designate, would not be tough enough to withstand U.S. pressure on the Palestinian issue, Axios reported, citing sources.
He reportedly told his pro-settlement allies that Bennett would likely give in to the Biden administration’s demands if it asked Israel to stop construction on settlements in the West Bank.
Netanyahu also suggested Bennett was too weak to risk tensions with Biden over keeping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on after a special session of the Knesset whereby Israeli lawmakers elected Isaac Herzog as the nation’s new president, in Jerusalem Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Associated Press)
The current prime minister could potentially undermine the coalition’s needed votes before the vote takes place, which might not be until next week, according to Axios.
The coalition consists of eight parties from across the political spectrum with little in common except the shared goal of toppling Netanyahu. The alliance includes hard-liners previously allied with Netanyahu, as well as center-left parties and even an Arab faction — a first in Israeli politics.
Even one defection could put the potential new government at risk, according to the outlet.
Netanyahu is reportedly focusing his energy on Nir Orbach, who is in Bennett’s party, and has said he may vote against the new government.
Bennett in an Israeli TV interview said he wanted to work with the Biden administration but would not agree to suspend settlement construction.
Bennet is a former Netanyahu ally and the prime minister has accused him of abandoning his principles “in order to be prime minister at any price,” calling it the “fraud of the century.”
Meanwhile, the Knesset on Wednesday elected Isaac Herzog to be the nation’s 11th president.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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