Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and “extremists” backing him must be ousted from the country’s government, opposition leader Yair Lapid has said.
Lapid, the head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, who briefly served as the Israeli PM last year, made the call in a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday. Replacing Netanyahu would allow the country to create a broad and stable coalition in parliament, led by the PM’s right-wing party, Likud. Together with its minor extreme-right partners, Likund currently controls 64 out of 120 seats in parliament.
“The time has come – we need to establish a national reconstruction government. Likud will lead it, Netanyahu and the extremists will be replaced, over 90 members of the Knesset will be partners in the coalition for healing and reconnection,” Lapid suggested.
The politician dismissed concerns that it was not the time to replace Netanyahu amid the current conflict in Gaza, which was triggered by the surprise attack launched by Hamas on Israel on October 7.
“I hear those saying this is not the time. We waited 40 days, there is no more time. What we need now is a government that will deal with nothing other than security and the economy,” Lapid insisted, underscoring remarks he made during a televised speech on Wednesday.
“The weak link is the government, and especially the prime minister. The coalition funds continue to flow, the treatment of the evacuees and the injured is a disgraceful failure, no one bothers to close the unnecessary government offices, the advocacy is an unfolding disaster,” the politician had said in his broadcasted address.
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The embattled PM has faced mounting criticism both at home and abroad over various issues, ranging from the extremely heavy-handed approach to the operation in Gaza to allowing the Hamas attack to happen in the first place. The growing dissent has been further aggravated by controversial remarks made by Netanyahu himself and his cabinet.
Late in October, for instance, the PM made a botched attempt to blame the Hamas attack on the country’s intelligence, claiming he was not warned of it in time. Shortly afterward, however, he had to retract the claims and apologize. Another major scandal erupted last week, when far-right Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu suggested nuking Gaza. The explosive statement drew widespread criticism and the minister ended up getting suspended.