Israel’s longstanding and embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may finally be out of office for good, according to an array of opposition groups who claimed on Sunday to finally have the votes to kick him out of power. The development comes after days of brutal fighting between Israel and Gaza and amidst an ongoing corruption probe into the Trump-loving politician.
The past month had seen an explosive 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas rock the region, leading to widespread unrest around the country. After a May 21 ceasefire brought a halt to violence, internal criticism of Netanyahu escalated. Some Israelis indicated in polls that they disapproved of the ceasefire. Critics also accused the prime minister of not doing enough to stop Hamas rocket attacks, or to reclaim bodies of Israeli soldiers.
This comes after a two-and-a-half-year standoff in Israel’s parliamentary government, in which four inconclusive elections failed to gain opposition parties the necessary votes to push Netanyahu from power. “We could go to fifth elections, six elections, till our home falls upon us, or we could stop the madness and take responsibility,” said former Netanyahu defense minister and right-wing political leader Naftali Bennett in a statement on Sunday. Under an agreement made by this new political coalition between himself and centrist leader Yair Lapid, Bennett will lead the new unity government.
The increasingly unified political opposition isn’t the long-serving prime minister’s only problem. Since last May, he’s been on trial for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges, which Netanyahu has denied. Prosecutors have accused Netanyahu of numerous incidents of corrupt behavior. One charge accuses him of giving hundreds of millions of dollars in regulatory benefits to his friend Shaul Elovitch, who was a controlling shareholder in Israeli telecom company Bezeq, in exchange for Elovitch directing a news site he owned to give Netanyahu favorable coverage.