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Israel's Netanyahu 'must go now,' says opposition leader Lapid

For the first time since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, opposition leader Yair Lapid said Netanyahu can no longer head the government, arguing that the Israeli public does not trust him.
(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on June 2, 2021 shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the city of Lod early on May 12, 2021 and Israel's centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid at the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in Jerusalem on May 31, 2021. - Israel's opposition leader Yair Lapid said he had succeeded in forming a coalition to end the rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the country's longest serving leader.Lapid's announcement came in the final hour before a midnight deadlin

The centrist leader of Israel's opposition, Yair Lapid, said Wednesday evening that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can no longer head the Israeli government. It was the first time since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 that Lapid made such a statement. 

Interviewed by Israeli Channel 12, Lapid said that "this government is not functioning. We need a change in the government. Netanyahu cannot continue being the prime minister of the state of Israel." The opposition leader then added that "what we need is a government of national rehabilitation."

As a reminder, five days after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, Netanyahu and National Unity party leader Benny Gantz agreed to join forces and establish a war cabinet that would include Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Gantz and National Unity member Gadi Eisenkot. Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and Shas party leader Aryeh Deri would serve as observers in this reduced cabinet. Lapid himself refused at the time to join the Netanyahu-led government, saying it would only serve to hide the prime minister’s failures. 

During the Wednesday interview Lapid said that his party, Yesh Atid, would agree to enter such a new rehabilitation government. "The Likud will head it. It’s the biggest party currently. But what is important is to start a process of rehabilitation and healing," he noted. 

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