Israeli PM Netanyahu’s foes reach deal to oust him

Two Israeli politicians plan to split the role of prime minister, with each serving for two years.

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YONATAN SINDAL/Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem Sunday.

JOSEF FEDERMAN, Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents announced they have reached a deal to form a new governing coalition, paving the way for the ouster of the longtime Israeli leader.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett made the announcement moments before a midnight Wednesday deadline. The deal prevented the country from plunging into its fifth consecutive election in just over two years.

In a statement on Twitter, Lapid said he had informed the country’s president of the deal. 

“This government will work for all the citizens of Israel, those that voted for it and those that didn’t. It will do everything to unite Israeli society,” he said.

Under the agreement, Lapid and Bennett will split the job of prime minister in a rotation. Bennett will serve the first two years, while Lapid will serve the final two years. The historic deal also includes a small Islamist party, the United Arab List, which would make it the first Arab party ever to be part of a governing coalition.
The agreement still needs to be approved by parliament in a vote that is expected to take place early next week. If it goes through, Lapid and his diverse array of partners will end the record-setting 12-year rule of Netanyahu.
Netanyahu, desperate to remain in office while he fights corruption charges, is expected to do everything possible in the coming days to prevent the new coalition from taking power. If he fails, he will be pushed out.

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