The reports over the past week in Israeli media that opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu may sign a plea deal this week have taken the political world by storm, both in the coalition and opposition.
Coalition members fears for their future, estimating that if Netanyahu signs the deal, which will essentially end his political career, the coalition’s continued existence is at great risk. Without Netanyahu, the right-wing parties in the coalition – Yamina and Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope – would have little justification to continue in a partnership with left-wing parties such as Meretz and Labor, not to mention Ra’am, and will aim to establish a government with the right-wing parties now in the opposition.
“Netanyahu is the strongest ‘glue’ of this government,” a source in the coalition told Yisrael Hayom last week. “New Hope members who said ‘Just not Bibi’ will find it difficult to explain why they’re still sitting with the left if Netanyahu leaves the game. Yamina members will also face heavy pressure. As soon as Netanyahu leaves, it’s likely that the government will dissolve within a short amount of time.”
What about the Likud? The party would have up to 21 days to choose a new chairman, with primaries held after 90 days. But during this period of time, the interim chairman could hold talks on an alternative government.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hinted at the topic for the first time at the start of the Cabinet meeting on Sunday, saying: “To all the political commentators with your graphs and scenarios…calm down. The Israeli government is working and will continue to work.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)