Yamina leader Naftali Bennett agrees to form ‘change government’ with Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid

Yamina leader Naftali Bennett agreed to form a coalition government with Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid, N12 reported on Friday evening. 

The two sides agreed that Bennett will serve first as prime minister until September 2023, after which Lapid will take over until November 2025, according to N12.

The swearing-in ceremony is expected to take place on June 7, following an announcement of the new government either on Saturday night or Sunday. 

This came following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attack on Bennett on Friday, accusing him of rejecting a right-wing government and instead seeking to become prime minister of a “government of the Left.”

In a three-minute video released on social media, Netanyahu revealed that Likud and Yamina negotiators had reached what he called a far-reaching agreement, but Bennett refused to sign it. The agreement would create a coalition of 59 MKs, two less than is needed. Bennett has declined to form a minority government and urged Netanyahu to find two defectors.
Netanyahu noted that during Operation Guardian of the Walls, Bennett and his No. 2, MK Ayelet Shaked, ruled out a government of change. He warned that Bennett and Shaked were endangering the country, the land of Israel and the IDF. 
“Naftali Bennett is running to the Left,” Netanyahu said. “This goes against all their principles and promises and everything necessary to guarantee the future of our state.”
“Either it was a show or they have no principles,” he said. 
Netanyahu said it was not too late to reject Lapid’s offer to replace him. 
EARLIER ON Friday prior to the report, Lapid said that despite his meeting the day before with Bennett, he did not know whether he would succeed in building a coalition by the time his mandate to form a government from President Reuven Rivlin will expire on Wednesday night. Lapid’s meeting with Bennett raised speculation that a government of change that would replace Netanyahu was on the way.
“I don’t know if we’ll form a government or not,” Lapid wrote on Facebook. “We’re leaving no stone unturned, doing everything we can – but it doesn’t just depend on us.”
Lapid said that what he did know was that even if he had many more seats than the 17 Yesh Atid won, he would try to form the unity government he was trying to build now with the same partners – from the Right, Left and center – which he said sends a message that different sectors of society do not hate one another and want to work for the greater good.
He said Israel needs a government in which Bennett and [Meretz leader] Nitzan Horovitz work together to improve the healthcare system, [New Hope chairman] Gideon Sa’ar and Labor head Merav Michaeli work together to reduce social gaps, and [secularist Yisrael Beytenu leader] Avigdor Liberman and [religious Zionist Blue and White minister] Chili Tropper find solutions together that allow Israel to be a Jewish state that respects the principle that religion cannot be coercive.
“Even if Yesh Atid had 40 seats, even if Netanyahu wasn’t there, it would still be the government we need,” Lapid wrote. “It’s the government the people of Israel need and the State of Israel needs – we need it like air to breathe.”
“I have reservations, of course, including the number of ministers that it looks like we’ll have, and the issues we’ve decided not to touch in the first year or two until we can bring about some stability,” he wrote. “But still given all the options, this is the one I’d choose. I’d choose it because we need a government with religious and secular together, where Left and Right combine with a large national-liberal centrist bloc, where Jews and Arabs who think and say loudly that they believe in coexistence – living here together and in the rule of law – sit together.”
TO SUPPORTERS of Netanyahu, Lapid wrote that it was important to remember that in a lively democracy, sometimes the leadership changes.
“Compromise isn’t a dirty word, but the basis of shared existence,” he wrote. “People who think differently from us aren’t enemies and don’t want to harm us (and they’ll be the first ones to stand by our side against our real enemies – Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran). If we do form this government, then in six months there will be people who will be surprised to discover that it hasn’t made Israel less Jewish or less Zionist – it’s just reduced the level of violence and anger, brought about growth and prosperity, and reminded us that we’re better than what we have now.”
Labor and Yesh Atid announced on Friday that they had finalized a coalition agreement. 
Labor leader Merav Michaeli is expected to be appointed transportation minister and MK Omer Bar-Lev will be public security minister, a post once held by his father, Haim Bar-Lev.
The third portfolio given to Labor will be Diaspora Affairs, which Lapid had intended to merge back into the Foreign Ministry that he would head if a government is formed.
Labor has not revealed its candidate for the third portfolio, but it could be MK Emilie Moatti or MK Gilad Kariv. A new department for advancing religious pluralism would be created in the ministry. 
The agreement includes steps to strengthen the police force, stop crime in the agricultural sector and fight traffic accidents.
Michaeli would be a member of the Judicial Selection Committee. Six judges are set to be appointed to the Supreme Court over the next four years. 

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