Palestinian attacks interrupted efforts by Israel’s opposition parties Monday to declare a governing coalition to replace incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after a small Arab party, Ra’am, suspended its participation in talks.
The Times of Israel reported that the “change” bloc — a group of left-wing parties, plus a few conservative opponents of Netanyahu — had been preparing to announce their agreement when the outbreak of violence provoked Ra’am to pause.
The Times of Israel reported:
The Islamist Ra’am party on Monday announced it was suspending coalition talks with the “change bloc” of anti-Netanyahu parties after Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a barrage of rockets toward Jerusalem and southern Israeli border communities, in a potentially major blow to the efforts by parties opposed to Netanyahu to form a government.
A Ra’am source told the Kan public broadcaster that it was unclear if the party would again hold talks with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid — who is currently tasked with forming a government — before his mandate to assemble a coalition ends on June 2, as the resumption of negotiations would depend on the scope of the violence.
Netanyahu’s Likud Party was the largest, by far, in the March elections — Israel’s fourth in two years — but he could not put together enough votes from other parties to form a governing coalition before the 28-day deadline last week. The mandate to form a government then passed to the opposition, which had been counting on Ra’am and its four seats to secure the majority.
If the next 28-day deadline expires, Israel could head to a fifth round of elections, and Netanyahu might return as prime minister — though under an existing rotation agreement, defense minister Benny Gantz could briefly take the reins first.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.