Israel Election: Bennett Backs Unity With Lapid, Inching Closer to Unseating Netanyahu

'We can stop the madness and take responsibility' and stop Israel from collapsing under the weight of its divisions, Bennett says

Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov
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Naftali Bennett gives a statement to the press, earlier this month.
Naftali Bennett gives a statement to the press, earlier this month.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov

Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett announced that he will do his best to form a coalition government with Yair Lapid on Sunday, capping weeks of speculation over whether the right-wing politician would agree to such an effort to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The four election cycles Israel has gone through within two years meant the country was "losing its ability to function," and the country's leadership is "showing hate and divisions to cover up failures," Bennett said. Bennett also asserted that the idea of a coalition made up solely of right-wing parties was not a true possibility. "It's either a fifth election or a unity government," he said. "Netanyahu knows it well."

Bennett said internal divisions were threatening the country's existence. "We can go to a fifth election, a sixth, a tenth, to tear down the walls of the country, brick by brick, until our house falls on top of us," he said. "And we can stop the madness and take responsibility."

Under a prospective power-sharing deal, Bennett would replace Netanyahu, the 71-year-old head of the Likud party, as prime minister and later give way to centrist Lapid in a rotation agreement. The new coalition's diverse members would have little in common apart from a plan to end the 12-year-run of Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving leader, now on trial over corruption charges he denies.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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