Yair Lapid, former Israeli prime minister of the Yesh Atid opposition party, this week called for Benjamin Netanyahu to be replaced as premier.
In an interview with Hebrew news outlet Channel 12, Lapid said: “The public has lost faith in Netanyahu… we can’t run an extended [military] operation with a prime minister we do not have faith in.”
Lapid called for the prime minister to be replaced by another member of his Likud party without carrying out an election. “What we need is a national rehabilitation government. We need to begin the repairing and healing process,” the former prime minister said.
Lapid said his party would be fully willing to join a new government still led by the Likud, but it is not the right time for elections in Israel. The opposition leader did not name any Likud figure he sees fit for the premiership.
“I think at the end of the day, I’m worried about the real issue, and the real issue now is for us to have a functioning government.” In a social media post the following day (Thurs.), Lapid explained his interview with Channel 12:
“Yesterday on Channel 12, I explained that the time has come – we need to establish a national reconstruction government. Likud will lead it, Netanyahu and the extremists will be replaced, and over 90 MKs will be partners in a coalition of healing and reconnection.”
In a long thread on the X platform, Lapid praised the army and its operation in Gaza and reiterated that the war would be a “long and complex” one.
“The Israeli public is showing resilience, and civil society has mobilized in the thousands … The weak link is the government, and especially the prime minister … Netanyahu has lost the trust of his citizens, the trust of the international community, and most seriously – the trust of the Israeli security system,” he said.
Lapid’s words come as recent polling has indicated a significant increase in mistrust and bitterness toward Netanyahu. According to a Maariv poll from last week, only 26 percent of Israelis believe Netanyahu is suitable to be prime minister.
Pressure on Netanyahu has grown especially from families of the hostages, angry at the failure to secure their release:
💥The families of Israeli hostages held in Gaza have begun a march from Tel Aviv to the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/rpBMkwDhmh
— Noga Tarnopolsky נגה טרנופולסקי نوغا ترنوبولسكي💙 (@NTarnopolsky) November 14, 2023
Another recent poll shows that 76 percent of Israelis want him out of office and that 44 percent hold Netanyahu responsible for what happened on 7 October. Israel’s former prime minister Ehud Olmert said last week that Netanyahu is “a danger to Israel.”
Benny Gantz, former defense minister and member of the war cabinet, said on Monday that now was not the time to replace the prime minister. However, he said that a time would come when Israel will adequately determine who is responsible for the failure of 7 October.