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Despite agreements, fate of Israel’s new government still uncertain

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, senior Likud members and settler leaders are calling upon legislators in Yamina and New Hope to defect from the change bloc.
JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid told President Reuven Rivlin last night that he had succeeded in assembling the required majority to establish a new government. But as the hours pass, the fate of the new government seems uncertain. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others in the Likud and the settler camp are trying to destabilize the coalition with less than two weeks before the swearing-in ceremony for the new government.

Current Knesset speaker Yariv Levin is considered one of Netanyahu’s closest associates. Responsible for the Knesset’s agenda, the speaker theoretically has the power to delay a vote on the new government for a week or more. Such a move would offer the Likud more time to persuade Yamina legislators to defect from the new and very narrow 61-member coalition. Fearing such a possibility, Yesh Atid embarked this morning on a campaign to replace Levin with one of their own, Micky Levy. But Yamina's Nir Orbach refused to toe in line and withdrew his signature from the petition presented as representing the entire coalition.

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