By Maayan Lubell
JERUSALEM – Israel’s parliament is set on Sunday to hold a special vote on a new government. If it wins the Knesset’s confidence, the new governing coalition will end Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s record hold on power.
Here is a timeline of events that have led to the emerging government that, once sworn in, will be headed by ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett and centrist Yair Lapid.
March 23, 2021 – Israel holds its fourth inconclusive election in two years. As in every previous vote, no party won a majority in the 120-seat parliament. Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud emerges as the biggest party. Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) comes second. Bennett’s Yamina (Rightwards) party wins just seven seats, but he emerges as kingmaker.
April 5 – Netanyahu’s corruption trial resumes on charges he denies.
April 6 – President Reuven Rivlin gives Netanyahu 28 days to form a new government. He woos smaller right-wing and religious parties, including Yamina, but fails.
May 5 – Rivlin turns to Lapid, who tries to form a “government of change” from an unlikely coalition of right-wing, centrist, leftist and Arab parties that would unseat Netanyahu.
May 10 – Fighting erupts between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and unrest breaks out in many mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel. Coalition talks break down.
May 21 – Ceasefire declared. Coalition talks resume.
May 30 – Bennett announces he is joining forces with Lapid to form a “unity government”.
June 2 – About 30 minutes before his midnight deadline, Lapid informs Rivlin he has managed to strike deals with his political allies to form a coalition government. Bennett will serve as prime minister for about two years, after which Lapid will take over.
June 3 – Netanyahu scorns the alliance as “a dangerous, left-wing government” and later calls on Yamina members to jump ship and vote against it.
June 8 – Knesset speaker Yariv Levin, a Netanyahu loyalist, says the government will be put up for vote at parliament on June 13.
June 13 – The Knesset is due to hold a vote on the Lapid-Bennett government. If it wins the special ballot, Israel’s new government will be sworn in that day, ending 12 years of Netanyahu’s premiership. If the proposed cabinet fails to win the Knesset’s confidence, Israel will be heading to another election.