Israel Sees Day of Wild Political Maneuvers

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In a series of maneuvers on Monday, Israel’s political scene appeared to be moving toward a showdown.

In a new gambit, the Times of Israel reports, PM Netanyahu offered Naftali Bennett a rotation deal with Bennett serving first as PM.

Bennett appeared uninterested, saying, “I didn’t ask for the premiership, but for a government.”

Shortly after, Yair Lapid said that he, not Bennett, should get the mandate to form a government.

“I will not give up the mandate to Bennett,” he said. “I see the tricks that are being done and I hope the president doesn’t enable it.”

Quickly, the far-rightist Bezalel Smotrich appeared to torpedo any chance of Netanyahu forming a government, saying he would not sit with the Arab Ra’am party.

“If we need to pay a price for this and go to the opposition, we will do so with our heads held high,” he said.

Then, Gideon Sa’ar said his New Hope party will not join a government with Netanyahu even he rotates with Bennett as PM.

Finally, left-wing parties Meretz and Labor said that a “change bloc” government that removes Netanyahu as PM could easily be formed.

Netanyahu will lose the mandate to form a government this week if he fails in his final attempts to put together a coalition, as now seems very likely.

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