Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Netanyahu's rivals have just hours left to seal pact to replace him

With opposition leader Yair Lapid's mandate to form a new government set to expire at midnight (5pm ET), negotiations are down to the wire with no deal yet.

Why it matters: If Lapid and Naftali Bennett can finalize their deal today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be out of power for the first time in 12 years. If they can't, Israel will likely head for a fifth election since 2019 with Netanyahu still in office.

The state of play: Lapid and Bennett have been closing in on a power-sharing deal that would make Bennett prime minister for two years before Lapid rotates into the job, but two gaps have prevented an agreement.

One has to do with Ayelet Shaked, Bennett's deputy in the right-wing Yamina party.

  • She has raised several last-minute demands, like obtaining a seat on the committee that appoints judges. That would give the right-wing faction of the government more power relative to the center-left and undermine the framework the parties had reached.
  • In recent days, there have been demonstrations by Netanyahu supporters near Shaked's home calling on her to refuse to join a government with the center-left. Her security was also increased due to death threats.
  • Between the lines: If Shaked drops out, the rest of Bennett’s party will follow. Sources involved in the negotiations say it’s unclear whether she is just seeking additional concessions or looking for a way to backtrack from joining the government.

Meanwhile, the Islamist Ra'am party has also raised new demands in the last 24 hours.

  • Several of Ra'am’s demands, like the cancellation of a law that makes it easier to conduct demolitions in Arab towns and villages inside Israel, were rejected by the right-wing faction.
  • The sources involved in the negotiations accuse Netanyahu of working behind the scenes to offer Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas new proposals if he rejects the Lapid-Bennett government, which they say led Abbas in turn to toughen his demands in the coalition negotiations and potentially sabotage them.
  • Without Ra'am, Lapid and Bennett can't reach a majority.

The big picture: The proposed "change government" would be Israel's widest-ranging coalition in history, involving parties from across the political spectrum united only in their desire to remove Netanyahu.

  • The government could end Israel's cycle of continuous elections.
  • However, the last-minute snags in the negotiations are proof of how fragile the coalition will be even if it is formed and how much pressure Netanyahu and his supporters will be able to exert on its right-wing members.

What’s next: If Lapid and Bennett announce an agreement today, the swearing-in will likely be set for next Wednesday. That would give Netanyahu another week to try to peel members away and block a majority.

  • If no government is formed by midnight, Netanyahu will have another 21 days to try to convince members of the anti-Netanyahu bloc to join him in a right-wing government.
  • During this period, any member of the Knesset who gets the signatures of 61 members can form a government. Failing that, a fifth election looms.

Reports: Trump DOJ subpoenaed Apple for records of WH counsel Don McGahn

Apple told former Trump administration White House counsel Don McGahn last month that the Department of Justice subpoenaed information about accounts of his in 2018, the New York Times first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: Although it's unclear why the DOJ took the action, such a move against a senior lawyer representing the presidency is highly unusual.

Keep reading... Show less

Pelosi demands Barr and Sessions testify on data subpoenas she says go "beyond Richard Nixon"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN Sunday that former Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions should testify before Congress on reports that the Trump-era Department of Justice seized Democrats' and journalists' data records.

Driving the news: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Friday an internal investigation into the matter, and Pelosi expressed disbelief to CNN's Dana Brash at assertions that neither Barr nor Sessions knew of probes into lawmakers.

Keep reading... Show less

Shipping giant CEO says business have to avoid global politics

The CEO of the world's largest container-shipping company cautions that international firms have to be careful of taking political stances.

  • What they're saying: "We cannot run a global business if we start to have views on politics in every single country that we are in," Maersk CEO Søren Skou tells "Axios on HBO."
Keep reading... Show less

Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark defends overture to Democrats

U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Suzanne Clark told me on "Axios on HBO" that the business group was right to endorse vulnerable House Democrats last year, despite the flak that resulted from Republicans.

  • Clark, who took over the top job in March, said those House Democrats "had really helped push business's number one priority, which was the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, over the finish line."
  • "All of the Republicans that we work with on tax, on regulation — those people are really, really important to us," she added: "So we have to be willing to have a different coalition on every issue."
Keep reading... Show less

Nuclear watchdog: “Essential” to have deal with Iran

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency tells "Axios on HBO" that it's "essential" to have a nuclear deal with Iran because otherwise "we are flying blind."

Driving the news: Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi sat down with "Axios on HBO" at IAEA headquarters in Vienna, ahead of Iran's June 18 presidential election and a June 24 extension on negotiations seeking to restore curtailed surveillance of Iranian nuclear sites and salvage the 2015 deal.

Keep reading... Show less

U.N. ambassador Thomas-Greenfield sees tough Putin summit

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., told me on "Axios on HBO" that President Biden will be candid, frank — and tough — during this week's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • "The president will make clear to the Russians that they cannot harbor cyber terrorists and criminals in their country and not be held accountable for it," she added. "And they need to take the responsibility for dealing with this issue."
Keep reading... Show less

Dems’ go-it-alone approach faces big hurdles as left’s frustrations spill over

If a bipartisan group of lawmakers fails to strike a deal on the infrastructure proposal it's negotiating with the White House, ramming through a package using the partisan reconciliation process isn't a guaranteed solution.

Why it matters: Getting 51 Democratic votes would be a long, uphill battle. And moderates within the party are balking at the cost of President Biden's spending — even as progressives openly lament that the "transformational" change they seek is slipping out of reach.

Keep reading... Show less

America's U.N. ambassador: "I will always push for women to be part of negotiation teams"

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., has argued over her 39-year diplomatic career that educating and empowering women and girls is an investment in peace and security for their nations.

  • "I will always push for women to be part of negotiation teams," she told me in the State Department Treaty Room, during an interview for "Axios on HBO."
  • "I notice ... when they're not in the room. ... Sometimes I'm the only one," she added with a laugh. "And I will call it out."
Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories