Thwarted by Two Rising Stars, Israel’s Netanyahu Gets More Time to Form Coalition

Posted: March 5, 2013 in News


Five weeks after managing only a thin victory in an election he was expected to dominate, and four weeks after being formally asked to assemble a government, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked for a final extension on what’s turning out to be an exceedingly challenging assignment. The two weeks he was granted by Israel’s President on Saturday night are all the time there is. Never mind that President Obama is scheduled to arrive four days later. The privilege could pass to another candidate. Or new elections would slip onto the calendar.

Why the delay? Netanyahu has been stymied by a steadfast alliance between the two newcomers who dominated the campaign: Yair Lapid, whose centrist Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) party finished a surprising second in the Jan. 22 balloting, has formed an iron compact with Naftali Bennett, head of the prosettlement Jewish Home. Both men are young, articulate…

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