Lapid Levels with Listeners, Lays Line for Leading Languishing Land
Israel’s opposition leader Yair Lapid on Sunday gave his first press conference since last month’s elections, outlining his preferred government and laying out his plans for the coming weeks. Lapid is waiting for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to announce his failure to form a government, after which Lapid hopes to be given a chance to do so by President Reuven Rivlin. Netanyahu was awarded one month to present his government coalition and if he comes up short, which seems likelier by the day, the president can either ask another candidate to establish a government or pass the decision on to the parliament itself, essentially ensuring a fifth election. “I’d be very surprised if I didn’t get a chance” to form a government, Lapid said on Sunday, pledging to establish a unity government along with right-wing rival Naftali Bennett and other parties in the anti-Netanyahu bloc. Netanyahu, who is attempting to bring together his extreme right-wing supporters in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, with the Islamist Raam party in order to eke out a 61-seat majority, also is contemplating a change to Israel’s voting system in case all else fails. The prime minister reportedly will try to enact direct elections for the position of prime minister only, hoping that will ensure his ability to remain in office.