Netanyahu has rocky road ahead in new coalition
By The Associated Press
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013, 9:18 p.m.
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013
JERUSALEM — Forced to rely on the support of two fast-rising rivals in his new governing coalition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is confronting a reshaped and rocky landscape that could spell trouble ahead: An unwanted culture war with the country's ultra-Orthodox minority as well as pressure to make peace overtures to the Palestinians.
After weeks of difficult negotiations, Netanyahu, who barely hung onto his job, was forced to cede significant power to his new partners, liberal former TV anchorman Yair Lapid and his unlikely ally, pro-settlement hard-liner Naftali Bennett.
Both men make no secret that they want to be prime minister one day, and each can bring down the government at will.
This new constellation is expected to force the cautious Netanyahu, who presided over a broad and stable coalition during his previous four-year term, to confront some of the nation's most contentious issues.
Both Lapid and Bennett have vowed to end years of preferential treatment for the country's small but politically powerful ultra-Orthodox minority. Lapid and the junior partner in the coalition, former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, will also put heavy pressure on Netanyahu to take a softer line toward the Palestinians. With President Obama visiting next week, Netanyahu could be forced sooner than later to make difficult decisions about the Palestinians.
“The next term will be one of the most challenging in the history of the state,” Netanyahu said on Thursday. “We are facing great security and diplomatic challenges.”
The ultra-Orthodox minority makes up roughly 8 percent of the country's 8 million people. Their political parties have traditionally wielded power far beyond their numbers by guaranteeing a string of prime ministers a parliamentary majority.
- Israel favors interim deal with Palestinians
- Tunisian security blocks radical Islamists’ conference
- Pakistan repeats vote despite killing
- North Korea fires projectile into eastern waters, 4th test in 2 days
- 1969 telegram displayed in Prague invites dreams of super group that never was: Hendrix, Davis, Williams and McCartney
- Brotherhood whips crowd into frenzy at anti-Israel rally
- 2 new viruses could both spark global outbreaks
- Pakistan’s Sharif sends mixed message to U.S.
- Builders destroy Mayan pyramid
- Deadly bomb hits in Benghazi
- Turkey’s support of rebels criticized after blast
You must be signed in to add comments
To comment, click the Sign in or sign up at the very top of this page.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.