Israel's opposition leader calls to remove Netanyahu: 'The time has come'

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Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid called for the removal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, saying “the time has come” for a new governing coalition in Israel.

In a thread on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Lapid laid out his vision for a “national reconstruction government,” which he said would be led by another leader from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, but would not include the prime minister nor “the extremists.”

“The time has come — we need to establish a national reconstruction government. Likud will lead it, Netanyahu and the extremists will be replaced, over 90 [members of parliament] will be partners in a coalition of healing and reconnection,” Lapid said, underscoring comments he first made on an Israeli television broadcast Wednesday.

“The weak link is the government, and especially the prime minister. The coalition funds continue to flow, the treatment of the evacuees and the injured is a disgraceful failure, no one bothers to close the unnecessary government offices, the advocacy is an unfolding disaster,” he said.

“Netanyahu has lost the trust of his citizens, the trust of the international community and most seriously — the trust of the security system,” he added.

Netanyahu is certain to fight back against Lapid’s demands, and The New York Times noted that no one in the Likud party has publicly suggested ousting him.

A Likud statement said that it “is regrettable and shameful that Lapid is engaging in politics during a time of war, proposing to oust the prime minister that leads the campaign and replace him with a government that would establish a Palestinian state and would allow the Palestinian Authority to control Gaza,” per Haaretz.

Lapid’s comments come as public anger toward Netanyahu continues to grow in Israel. After the Oct. 7 attack on Israel — which killed an estimated 1,200 Israelis — Israeli society has been extremely divided, with a large majority of Israelis saying Netanyahu is somewhat responsible for the attack.

Some of Netanyahu’s critics allege his hyperfocus on judicial reforms, a priority of his right-wing coalition, could have caused the failure to anticipate the Hamas massacre.

Lapid also pointed to Netanyahu’s refusal to accept any blame for security failures. He mentioned Netanyahu’s statement blaming military and intelligence officials for the Oct. 7 attack — a remark for which he has now apologized.

“I hear the voices saying this is not the time. We waited 40 days, there is no more time. What we need right now is a government that will deal with nothing but security and the economy. We cannot afford another election in the coming year where we will continue to fight and explain why the other side is a disaster,” he wrote.

Lapid said a new governing coalition will focus on taking care of its citizens, not on politics.

“In this place we must establish — in the current Knesset — a government that will be focused on taking care of the citizen, not on politics. An efficient and decent government, with as broad a base as possible,” he wrote.

“A government whose very structure will begin the creation of a new Israeli contract. Likud, the largest party, will choose who should lead it. We will accept his choice and go to work.”

Netanyahu had not publicly responded to Lapid’s calls as of Thursday afternoon.

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