JERUSALEM (AP) — Benjamin Netanyahu has been tasked by Israel’s president to form a new government for the sixth time in his lengthy political career. This time it’s no mere formality, but rather a daunting endeavor that looks like mission impossible.
After an inconclusive national election last week, Netanyahu has no obvious path to the 61-seat parliamentary majority required of a coalition government, enjoying the backing of just 55 of its 120 members. It doesn’t look like his opponents are going to budge and next week Netanyahu has a pre-indictment hearing before he will likely be charged in a series of corruption scandals — something that would reshuffle the extremely complicated deck he already has.
Officially, Netanyahu has up to four weeks to present a stable government. President Reuven Rivlin, who is responsible for delegating a leader to form a government, gave Netanyahu the nod because he deemed him to have the best odds of success.
Rivlin can technically extend the window by two weeks, as he did after April’s initial election, but given the current quagmire, Netanyahu is far more likely to return the “mandate” to the president well before then if no breakthrough emerges. Rivlin can then give challenger Benny Gantz a four-week window to try it himself. With only 54 members backing Gantz, he has an equally slim chance of success, which is why Rivlin has been urging the two men to reach some form of unity government to spare the country a dreaded third election in less than a year.
An Israeli general has warned the “level of war” is approaching with Iran as tensions rage in the Middle East.
Brigadier General Dror Shalom issued the dire assessment of the situation as the war of words rages between the US, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
He also warned Islamic Republic is also capable of attacking them with cruise missiles.
General Shalom said it is “only a matter of time” until the Iranians try to strike at Israel.
Iran is known to have proxy forces throughout the Middle East aimed at destabilising the region to assert the regime’s power.
Tensions have exploded after the Iranians are accused of launching missiles and using drones to attack oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.