Netanyahu poised to take big fall

A former ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to form a coalition government with the Israeli leader’s opponents to end the rule of the longtime premier.

The move by Naftali Bennett, leader of the small hardline Yamina party, set the stage to push Netanyahu, 71, and his Likud party into opposition.

While Bennett, 49, and partners headed by Yair Lapid, 57, face obstacles, they can end a deadlock brought on by four elections in two years.

The pair have until tomorrow to seal a deal for each to serve two years as premier, with Bennett first.

Bennett, once a top aide to Netanyahu, said there was no feasible way after a deadlocked March 23 election to form a right-wing government favored by his old boss. He said another election would yield the same results.

If Bennett and Lapid and other partners can wrap up a deal it would end, at least for a while, the record-setting tenure of Netanyahu. He has been prime minister for 12 years and also had a term in the 1990s.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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